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By Eric Heinz
After months of compiling data from volunteers and homeless assistance organizations, the Point in Time Study, which takes a census of the homeless population in Orange County, has been released.
The study shows that Orange County’s homeless population has risen 7.6 percent from 2015 to 2017, with a total of 4,792 homeless people counted. The census was conducted in January.
“The increase represented the combination of a decrease of 43 in sheltered homelessness (from 2,251 to 2,208) and an increase of 383 in unsheltered homelessness (from 2,201 to 2,584),” a summary from the study stated. “Further, the increase in unsheltered homelessness was attributable to an increase in the number of unsheltered single adults (from 2,193 to 2,518).”
The study mentioned that the increase could also have come from more thorough efforts from volunteers and assisting organizations. The increased coverage of the Santa Ana Riverbed also may have attributed to the rise in numbers.
The study also showed an increase of about 300 unsheltered homeless people within the county, a 17 percent increase from 2015. This included homeless adults and children. Unsheltered homeless people were categorized as those who were “known locals” to the area.
“As is the case across the country, the majority of homeless people live in adult-only households,” the summary stated. “Those that do live with a minor child are almost exclusively living in a sheltered situation—based on the HUD definition, there were 25 unsheltered children in Orange County at the time of this count, all of whom were accompanied by adults.”
Comparatively, the study showed Los Angeles County had a 34 percent increase in its homeless population since 2015, but San Bernardino saw a 13 percent decrease.
The studies across the county are compiled by 2-1-1 Orange County, a nonprofit organization.
The Point in Time Study will likely be used as a hallmark document with regard to city procedures in addressing homelessness in cities of South Orange County. The studies are conducted with various organizations every two years.
FIND OUT MORE: The full report is available on www.211oc.org under the “Reports” tab.