Frankly, we think the bi-annual point-in-time homeless counts are just a bit iffy: it all depends on the subjects of the count being in the right places at the right times to be counted, and any number of things can affect those things. Still, it’s the best available data we’ve got; and whether the total is up or down slightly, it helps gauge the scope of the issue.
We know that more than 700 people in our area qualify as homeless.
More precisely, this year’s point-in-time count identified 706 individuals experiencing homelessness in Yuba-Sutter. The count was done at the end of January and is down from the survey two years before by 54.
A count is conducted nationwide every two years as a requirement for receiving homeless assistance funding from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development. It counts people staying in shelters and outside.
Of those counted here:
– 194 were staying in homeless shelters; 512 were unsheltered.
– Nearly 59 percent were in Yuba County, the rest in Sutter. Most were staying near Linda, Marysville, Olivehurst and Yuba City.
– The survey identified another 250 people at risk.
– Most of the homeless and precariously sheltered – 54 percent – were male.
– 14 percent had serious mental illnesses; 12 percent had substance-use disorders; and 24 percent had physical conditions.
While the total dropped, there is concern that there were fewer people staying in shelters – 194 compared to 287 in 2017.
The information could help in planning where to deploy resources. Because resources will have to be used to deal with the issue.
Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.