Resumption Of Count Shows SBC Homelessness Up Over The Last Two Years

After foregoing taking a survey of San Bernardino County’s homeless numbers in 2021, county officials reinstituted the count this year, ascertaining that there are nearly 7 percent more destitute people within the county’s confines than two years ago.
The results, released Wednesday, May 18, indicate there were 3,333 dispossessed throughout the county, an increase of 6.656 percent in the number of homeless over 24 months ending in February.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, citing concerns over the potential of the spreading of the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus to a vulnerable population, called off the counting of the homeless population that generally takes place in January or February in San Bernardino County.
The effort was revived on Thursday, February 24, 2022, after which the results were guarded until being released this week. According to county officials, volunteer surveyors working with county employees located and identified as homeless 3,333 people, which represents an increase of 208 people over the 3,125 who were counted on the survey day held in January 2020.
In making the count, surveyors drew a distinction between those completely on their own – living on the streets, as the phraseology goes – and those who own no home but have been put up in some form of shelter. The actual number of those without any roof whatsoever over their heads diminished by one, while there were 209 more in a shelter or temporary residence settings than two years before.
The effort to count those living on the street began at 6 a.m. on February 24, 2022 and continued until sundown. The counting of those sheltered presented less of a challenge than ferreting out those who have no traditional place to stay and are living under bridges, behind bushes to the side of freeway ramps, in alleyways and riverbeds, in canyons and arroyos, in parks and campgrounds as a means of avoiding or hiding from brutal authorities to avoid being manhandled by oftentimes sadistic police officers and sheriff’s deputies, deloused with toxic chemicals against their will and charged with vagrancy.
The tallying extended to those who spent the night of February 23/February 24 in all of the county’s known shelters and transitional housing facilities. The Department of Housing and Urban Development uses standards in the count that go beyond the set survey date in remote, hidden, out-of-the-way and obscure places where the homeless may take refuge insofar as it can be established that those found there were in fact homeless on the day of the count. Efforts are made to prevent counting individuals as homeless more than once.
More than three-fourths (79.2%) or 2,640 of the 3,333 homeless adults and children were counted within seven cities – Barstow, Colton, Fontana, Ontario, Redlands, San Bernardino, and Victorville. These seven cities accounted for 1,822 or more than three-fourths (76.2%) of the total unsheltered population of 2,389 and 818 or 86.6% of the 944 persons counted in shelters and transitional housing.
According to the county, nearly half of unsheltered adults who agreed to be surveyed stated that the city in which they first became homeless was San Bernardino – 47 percent. The second-leading answer was Victorville, at 6 percent. More than one-fourth – 27 percent – of adults and children counted as homeless in 2022 became homeless for the first time during the 12 months prior to the February 24 count.
Also, according to the county, nearly one-fourth – 22 percent – of adults stated they had been released from prison or jail during the previous 12 months. The same results emerged from the 2020 and 2019 counts. The county said that nearly half – 43 percent – of unsheltered adults were chronically homeless, which is defined as being homeless for one year or more and having a disabling condition such as mental illness, a chronic health condition or a physical disability.
According to the survey, there were 25 homeless in Adelanto, 27 in Apple Valley, 103 in Barstow, one in Big Bear City/Sugarloaf, 37 within the municipal limits of the City of Big Bear Lake, 11 in Bloomington, 23 in Chino, four in Chino Hills, 199 in Colton, 13 in Crestline, 156 in Fontana, one in Grand Terrace, 53 in Hesperia, 82 in Highland, 28 in Joshua Tree, one in Lake Arrowhead, four in Landers, nine in Loma Linda, 37 in Montclair, 13 in Muscoy, nine in Needles, 193 in Ontario, one in Phelan/Pinon Hills, 184 in Rancho Cucamonga, 70 in Rialto, seven in Running Springs, 1,350 in San Bernardino, 15 in Twentynine Palms, 89 in Upland, 455 in Victorville, 11 in Yucaipa, 57 in Yucca Valley and 18 elsewhere. There were no homeless in Yermo, West Cajon Valley, Mentone/Crafton, Lytle Creek, Lenwood and Cajon Canyon.
Of the 3,333 counted as homeless in 2022, 2,389 or nearly three-fourths – 71.7 percent – were unsheltered, which is defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development as “An individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, meaning: (i) An individual or family with a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.”
Of the 2,373 unsheltered homeless, 1,868 – 78.7 percent – of the adult homeless were males and 482 or 20.3 percent of the adults were females. Sixteen children living with families were unsheltered homeless, seven boys and nine girls.
Among the unsheltered homeless adults, 848 or 35.7 percent were Hispanic or Latino and 1,525 were non-Hispanic or non-Latino; 76 or 3.2 percent were American Indian or Alaska native; 29 or 1.2 percent were Asian; 434 or 18.3 percent were black or African American; 18 or 0.7 percent were native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander; 1,449 or 61.1 percent were white; and 367 or 15.5 percent fit into what surveyors said were other races or ethnicities, which were not defined. Among the unsheltered, 16 or 0.7 percent were under the age of 18; 94 or 3.9 percent between the ages of 18 and 24; 836 or 35 percent between the ages of 25 and 39; 577 or 24.2 percent were aged 40 to 49; 289 or 12.1 percent were between the ages of 50 and 54, 364 or 15.2 percent were ages 55 to 61; and 213 or 8.9 percent aged 62 or above. Of the unsheltered, 1,027 were chronically homeless adults; 39 were in ten families consisting of 13 adults and 16 children; 50 were afflicted with HIV/AIDS; 684 had known mental health problems; 868 admitted to be substance users; 166 were veterans; and 166 said they were experiencing homelessness due to their fleeing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking.
Within the county’s homeless population that was sheltered, 24 or 2.54 percent were American Indian or Alaska natives; eight or less than one percent were Asian; 309 or 32.73 percent were black/African American; nine or less than one percent were members of chronically homeless families; 83 or 8.79 percent were chronically homeless individuals, seven or less than one percent were chronically homeless veterans; 508 or 53.81 percent were female; 473 or 50.1 percent were Hispanic or Latino; 435 or 46.08 were male; 98 or 10.38 percent had multiple race backgrounds, three or less than one percent were native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander; 471 or 49.89 were non-Hispanic/non-Latino; 634 or 67.16 percent were  persons over the age of 24; 20 or 2.11 percent were persons with HIV or AIDS; 155 or 16.41 percent were people with mental health problems; 80 or 8.47 percent admitted to having substance abuse problems; one was transgender; 267 or 28.28 were unaccompanied women; 29 or 3.07 were veterans; 71 or 7.52 percent were victims of domestic violence; 501 were white; 56 were between the age of 18 and 24; and eight were unaccompanied youths under the age of 18.
-Mark Gutglueck

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