2-1-1 Orange County’s 2017 Homeless Count & Survey

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that communities administer a Point-in-Time (PIT) Count every two years.[1] The goal of the PIT is to tally all people experiencing homelessness over a 24 hour period of time in the county. The Point-in-Time Count for 2017 in Orange County took place in late January and was 4,792. The survey was conducted by County employees, service providers, volunteers, 2-1-1 Orange County staff, and homeless individuals themselves. 2-1-1 Orange County is a local, private, non-profit organization with 501(c)3 status. Their mission is to “Connect the vulnerable with the health and human resources they need when they need it most.”

The results from the 2017 PIT show that 0.15% of Orange County’s population is homeless, slightly below the national average of 0.18%. 2-1-1 Orange County’s final report states that: “The number of homeless people in Orange County increased by 8% between 2015 and 2017, from 4,452 to 4,792. There was a concurrent 14% increase in the number of homeless households from 3,354 to 3,826.“

From the Continuum of Care 2017 Homeless Count & Survey Report:

In sum, Orange County saw a total increase of 340 people experiencing homelessness since 2015 (from 4,452 to 4,792). 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). Further, the increase in unsheltered homelessness was attributable to an increase in the number of unsheltered single adults (from 2,193 to 2,518). Reasons for this increase may include the following:

More thorough incorporation of community data for defining map areas: In addition to the strategies employed in 2013 and 2015 for collecting mapping information, this year 211OC integrated Coordinated Entry data gathered throughout the year to plot where homeless people reported sleeping. Multiple cities were also actively engaged with providing information about where homeless people regularly sleep and with testing initially drawn map areas to provide feedback and suggest edits. The process resulted in a total of 270 map areas, 86 more than in 2015.

More thorough coverage of the Santa Ana Riverbed on the morning of the count: A dedicated and experienced team of volunteers drove along with the Health Care Agency on both sides of the Riverbed to count homeless people and sleeping locations in 2017. In previous years, these resources were not available and one or two volunteers biked the Riverbed, counting as they rode.

Read the full report here.

[1] For communities that receive funds from HUD for homeless programs.

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