One-day tally shows rise in homeless population, need for continued expansion of shelters, housing and services

Providing shelter and affordable housing, as well as health and mental health services are key to ending homelessness

Redwood City – County Chief Executive Mike Callagy announced at a virtual gathering of community leaders today that a one-day count found 1,808 people homeless in San Mateo County.

“While this number may seem daunting to some, we know we have the ability and the commitment to end homelessness here in San Mateo County,” Callagy said. “We are bringing together the resources and supports needed to create a clear pathway from homelessness to permanent housing, with important new housing resources that have opened recently and more to come in a few months.”

Callagy made today’s announcement at the second in a series of events titled “2022: Our Year of Working Together to End Homelessness.” This in an ongoing series of meetings, tours and a brainstorming session to engage the community in developing solutions to a challenge that county leaders have pledged to overcome.

“Together, we know we can put the systems in place to ensure that when individuals and families find themselves homeless, it’s rare, brief and one-time,” said Don Horsley, chairman of the County Board of Supervisors. San Mateo. “We know we have work to do and we are committed to providing the resources necessary to complete this work.”

Roaming: in numbers
A day’s count “at a given time” is the number of people experiencing homelessness at a given time. The 2022 count was conducted on February 24 by teams of community members who deployed to San Mateo County to find and count people who are homeless. A count of people accommodated in shelters and temporary accommodation was also carried out.

The count found:

► 1,092 homeless people. This represents a 21% increase (191 people) from the one-day tally in 2019.

► 716 people living in collective shelters and hotels converted into temporary accommodation. This represents a 17% increase (105 people) from the one-day tally in 2019.

“Although the numbers have increased, we believe the situation could be much worse without the supports we have put in place due to the impacts of the pandemic,” said Ken Cole, director of the County Social Services Agency. .

“The past few years have been incredibly difficult for so many individuals and families,” Cole said. “They deserve our compassion and, more than that, our promise that we will do everything in our power to ensure that every homeless person can enter a shelter and work towards finding permanent housing.”

Point-in-time count results provide data that helps inform policy makers and providers about the homeless population and understand trends. Organizations that receive federal funding are required to conduct a one-time count every two years; the 2021 count was postponed to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our Year of Working Together to End Homelessness”
The county has set a goal of creating enough shelter beds and transitional housing units to achieve “zero functional” homelessness. This means ensuring that every homeless county resident who chooses assistance can be safely accommodated in an emergency shelter or in temporary or permanent housing. It also means outreach staff will continue to engage with those not currently interested in accessing services.

Providing temporary and permanent housing options is a key part of the initiative, along with expanding support services for homeless residents on the streets, in shelters and residing in transitional housing. Support services address barriers to an individual or family’s housing and include linking people to employment opportunities, social service benefits, and health and mental health services.

To build momentum, Callagy announced 2022 as “Our Year of Working Together to End Homelessness”. On Friday, in addition to learning about the results of the one-time count, attendees heard from city leaders about their work to end homelessness and from providers of transitional housing and support services for youth, families and adults.

The next event in the series, “Moving to Permanent Housing,” will take place on Friday, June 3 at 10 a.m. The event will focus on the challenges of developing permanent affordable housing and will conclude with a “fireside chat” with formerly homeless people. residents who now have permanent homes.

Create pathways to permanent housing
“With the leadership of the Board of Overseers, we strongly believe that the solution to homelessness is to provide people with the tools they need to access permanent and affordable housing,” Callagy said.

To meet urgent shelter needs, in April the county began construction of 240 safe living spaces at a shipping hub taking shape in Redwood City, east of the 101 freeway.

The Navigation Center will replace the Maple Street Shelter, which currently provides support services and emergency and transitional housing for approximately 110 people each night.

Unlike traditional shelters, the Navigation Center will allow people to have private sleeping quarters and 20 units will accommodate couples. The new facility will also provide outdoor space and expanded space for support service providers.

The construction of the navigation center should be completed by the end of the year.

In addition to the new Navigation Center units, the county has purchased five former motels/hotels to convert into temporary or permanent housing for people who are unhoused or at serious risk of becoming unhoused.

These properties are:

  • Shores Landing, Redwood City: 95 units.
  • The former Comfort Inn and Suites, Redwood City: 51 units
  • The Old Stone Villa Inn, San Mateo: 44 units
  • Coast House, Half Moon Bay: 51 units
  • Pacific Shelter, Redwood City: 74 units

Two hotels, Coast House and Pacific Shelter, currently offer transitional housing and a third, Stone Villa, will be ready for transitional housing residents in the fall. Formerly homeless seniors now have permanent homes in Shores Landing and the Comfort Inn will welcome permanent residents later this year.

To learn more about “Our Year of Working Together to End Homelessness” and to find ways to get involved, visit smcendinghomelessness.org.

About Ryan Headley

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