Sacramento’s 2017 homeless count shows 38 percent increase from 2015

The 2017 Sacramento homeless count found that most residents living homeless were unsheltered. [Photo: Sacramento Steps Forward]

Sacramento County’s 2017 homeless count found 3,665 people living homeless, a 38 percent increase from 2015’s findings.

In a report commissioned by Sacramento Steps Forward and written by Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research, the homeless count–gathered on a single night in January with the help of some 300 volunteers–showed that the majority of the county’s homeless (56 percent) were sleeping outdoors.

The 2017 Sacramento homeless count found that most residents living homeless were unsheltered. [Photo: Sacramento Steps Forward]

The 2,052 unsheltered residents reflects a 116 percent increase from 2015’s count of 948. It reflects a trend of increasing numbers of unsheltered homeless in the region. Between 2013 and 2015, unsheltered residents rose by 20 percent.

“This news affirms what is already evident to the people of Sacramento, the question is what are we going to do about it,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg in a prepared statement. “We are going to implement the city’s $64 million Whole Person Care grant together with our public housing resources to get 2,000 people off the streets as soon as possible. No excuses, no boundaries, action and results are all that matter.”

While the 2017 homeless count shows a 38 percent rise from 2015’s count, Sacramento Steps Forward and Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research say that the rise was 30 percent after reworking the 2015 numbers to reflect the increased amount of land covered by count volunteers in 2017:

Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research calculated that 14.7% of the unsheltered count data in 2017 came from South parts of Sacramento where new census zones were created. Assuming that 2015 count was 85.3% effective, to get at an adjusted rate we took the unsheltered count that year and divided it by 85% (948 divided by .853), which gave us 1,111.

“I echo the call of the Mayor,” said Shannon Stevens, program director of Maryhouse at Sacramento Loaves & Fishes. Maryhouse provides emergency services to women experiencing homelessness. “I’d also say that it can’t take another [six] months of meetings to decide. Our neighbors experiencing homelessness are dying on the streets they call home.”

The full 2017 report can be found here.

Stay tuned to VOICES: River City for more coverage and deeper analysis on the 2017 homeless count numbers.

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Dave Kempa
Dave Kempa is the founder and editor of VOICES: River City.