Just the Facts:
Sobering Statistics about Homelessness
The number of people experiencing homelessness in Placer County increased slightly from 2018 to 2019, according to results from the annual point-in-time count released by the Homeless Resource Council of the Sierras (HRCS). As the lead organization in the region's Continuum of Care for homelessness, HRCS is a nonprofit collaborative comprised of members representing nonprofit and government agencies serving the community’s needs around homelessness.
A total of 617 homeless individuals were counted in Placer County, from Roseville to North Lake Tahoe. The count surveyed both unsheltered and sheltered individuals and was conducted by volunteers, nonprofit, and county staff for the night of January 24. By comparison, 584 homeless individuals were identified in the 2018 count and 663 in 2017.
“The point in time count is critical in our collective work toward ending homelessness in the region. The results from the count will help us to better understand the widespread nature of homelessness, identify trends, and help target critical funding and services to those most in need,” said Leslie Brewer, president of the Homeless Resource Council of the Sierras.
To collectively respond to homeless issues, local stakeholders will have the benefit of a new 10-year Placer County Homeless Strategic Plan. The plan, set to be released publicly in the coming weeks, will include a number of relevant strategies: 1) developing affordable housing with services, 2) increasing investment in substance abuse treatment and mental health services, 3) increasing access to emergency housing, and 4) optimizing efforts to improve community outreach, data management, and agency collaboration.
Of adults who responded to detailed survey questions, 46 percent were chronically homeless. Forty percent reported having a serious mental illness, and 28 percent had a substance use disorder. Most of the respondents, 75%, resided in Placer County at least one year prior to becoming homeless.
A Point in Time Count (PIT) is a one-night estimate of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations. The PIT count provides the number and demographic characteristics of persons who are homeless on the night of the count, both sheltered (in emergency shelter or transitional housing on the night of the count) or unsheltered (on the street or in some other place unfit for human habitation) on the night of the count.
The Cost of Homelessness
The cost of homelessness to society is great; homeless individuals move in and out of expensive emergency services like hospitals, substance abuse treatment facilities, and even jail. The average cost of an individual visit to an ER is $3500; to arrest someone costs over $400; jail time is over $100 dollars a day. *According to the National Center on Family Homelessness*
The Gathering Inn reduces these costs by providing a place for the homeless to receive help rather than being on the streets consuming city and county resources. Each year more than 450 homeless individuals are served by The Gathering Inn.