Measurement tallied prior to COVID-19

The number of people experiencing homelessness in Placer County increased from 2019 to 2020, 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 744 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 29. By comparison, 617 homeless individuals were identified in the 2019 count and 584 in 2018.

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“This increase was measured prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemic has only raised our concern for the county’s homeless population,” said Nancy Baglietto, president of HRCS. “We have worked to ensure available shelter during the pandemic, with proper physical distancing, and our local providers will be working diligently to support transitions to permanent housing as we move forward.”

Homeless service providers across the county have worked to expand sanitation measures and physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Under direction from the State of California under Project Roomkey, Placer County has also secured the use of trailers and hotels to temporarily house CDC identified high risk homeless individuals to protect them from COVID -19.

Survey results

Of adults who responded to detailed survey questions in the 2020 point-in-time count, 42 percent were chronically homeless. Thirty-five percent reported having a serious mental illness, and 21 percent had a substance use disorder. Most of the respondents, 70%, 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; or unsheltered, on the street or in some other place unfit for human habitation, on the night of the count.

Homeless individuals wishing to access basic shelter and housing services should call the toll-free, 24-hour homeless hotline, 1-833-3PLACER.

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