San Bernardino County experienced a 26 percent increase in its homeless population during the past year, according to the 2023 Homeless Point in Time Count (PITC).
Results of the Jan. 26 count were released yesterday during a meeting of the San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership- Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH). The report claims a rapid increase in rent costs, a shortage of affordable housing, and deepening mental health and substance use disorder crises are to blame for the double-digit increase.
“This is unacceptable. We must do more. Addressing homelessness is my priority. The investments my colleagues and I are making to support County staff in their implementation of strategies will make a difference. We will ensure those funds are invested wisely to address the crisis,” said Second District Supervisor Jesse Armendarez.
A total of 4,195 homeless persons were identified during the PITC compared to 3,333 last year. Of that number, 39.9 percent became homeless for the first time; 44.1 percent were chronically homeless; and 22.9 percent of unsheltered adults answered “yes” when asked if they had been incarcerated during the past 12 months.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities to conduct one-day point-in-time sheltered and unsheltered homeless counts in order to receive local homeless funding. While HUD requires communities to conduct a point-in-time count every other year for the unsheltered, San Bernardino County conducts the count annually to better monitor and respond to homeless trends.
The Board of Supervisors last month voted to leverage $72.7 million in federal, state and county resources to support the 2022 Homeless Strategic Action Plan. The spending plan includes $15 million for a new County Housing Development Grant to support community-based homeless housing projects and $29.7 million for the Pacific Village Phase II expansion.
Pacific Village will provide individuals with semi-private or private housing rather than congregate dormitory beds. It is anticipated that Pacific Village will increase the number of individuals connected with housing and supportive services to approximately 726 annually.