New San Francisco Homelessness Count Reveals 15% Decrease in Unsheltered Homelessness from 2019 to 2022
Preliminary 2022 Point in Time Count results shows number of people living on streets and in vehicles decreased since 2019 as part of an overall decrease in homelessness
San Francisco – Today, Mayor London N. Breed announced that the preliminary results of the City’s biennial Homelessness Count showed a 15% decrease in unsheltered homelessness and a 3.5% decrease in overall homelessness. Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, San Francisco has continued to invest in housing, shelter, prevention, and other solutions.
The Point in Time (PIT) Count is a biennial count of people experiencing homelessness at a given point in time. Last year’s PIT Count was canceled due to COVID, so this is the first count San Francisco has conducted since 2019. The PIT Count was conducted on February 23, 2022.
Changes between the 2022 PIT Count and the 2019 PIT Count:
- 15% Decrease in Unsheltered Homelessness: 4,397 people experiencing unsheltered homelessness
- 3.5% Decrease in Overall Homelessness: 7,754 people experiencing homelessness (both unsheltered and sheltered)
- 18% increase in people living in shelters and transitional housing: 3,357 people living in shelters and transitional housing. This increase is due to significant investments in shelter during this time.
- 11% decrease in chronically homeless single adults: 2,691 people who are chronically homeless (Chronic Homelessness means experiencing homelessness for longer than 1 year or having multiple episodes of homelessness and a disabling condition)
- Improvement in youth counts: 6% decrease in unaccompanied youth and 47% decrease in parenting youth households
“We have a lot of work to do, but this shows that we are moving in the right direction,” said Mayor Breed. “The investments we have made and will continue to make, as well as our improvements in strategy around outreach and connecting people to resources are all working together to help get more people off the street. The fact that we were able to make this progress during the course of a global pandemic shows that when the City and our non-profit partners work together, we can make a difference. But this is only a first step. We will keep focused on implementing our Homelessness Recovery Plan to add more housing and shelter, and working to address the very real challenges of addiction and mental illness of those who are struggling on our streets.”
The PIT count provides vital information that helps the City and County of San Francisco better understand homelessness in the community and guides the way the City and its partners respond to the crisis. The PIT Count helps identify trends and changes over time and informs future data modeling and planning. This release includes preliminary data as reported by the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) to HUD. HSH will be releasing the full report with survey results, demographic information and geographic distribution in July.
“Our homelessness crisis can feel insurmountable, but this new data shows we’re starting to make progress — that investing in housing and other supports actually matters. To be clear, much work remains — the level of homelessness in San Francisco is unacceptable — but this is a start. I applaud Mayor Breed for her strong work to get people into permanent housing and connected to supportive services,” said Senator Scott Wiener.
“Any drop in the number of Californians experiencing homelessness is encouraging. By working together, we have started to move more people off our streets, yet so much more needs to be done to build more affordable and supportive housing,” said Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting.
“Over the last few years, our city and state made historic investments in shelter, supportive housing, and treatment. These solutions are working to get people off the streets into housing and care, but we have so much work left to do,” said Assemblymember Matt Haney. “I am committed to partnering with the Mayor to build on and expand these interventions to dramatically reduce street homelessness. As long as there are still thousands of people living on our streets and sidewalks, we have to work even harder with urgency, determination, and accountability to confront this crisis. No one should be living on our streets.”
In June, 2020, Mayor Breed announced a Homelessness Recovery Plan that focused on expanding housing options for people experiencing homelessness, including investing in the largest expansion of permanent, supportive housing in 20 years. Since that date, just over 1,490 new units of permanent supportive housing that have opened. An additional 1,054 units will be open or under contract by July 2022, exceeding the goal of the plan by 70%. This is contributing to the creation of over 4,000 new permanent supportive housing, rapid rehousing, problem solving, and shelter placements made since June 2020. Prior to the pandemic, Mayor Breed had also launched a plan to expand navigation centers that also contributed to the increase in shelter availability.
“Our investments in shelter and housing are resulting in improvements in the lives of people experiencing homelessness and conditions on our streets,” said San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing Executive Director, Shireen McSpadden. “The Point in Time Count’s critical data will inform our programs and our mission to make homelessness rare, brief and one-time.”
While the nine counties of the Bay Area are sharing their own preliminary PIT count numbers independently, they have also collaborated on a regional press release in recognition of the regional nature of this issue, to provide context for each county’s numbers and details about each county’s plans for release.