STOCKTON, Calif. — Nearly four months after hundreds of volunteers across San Joaquin County took to the streets, surveying and counting unsheltered and sheltered homeless people, results from the Continuum of Care's Point in Time (PIT) Count were released by the county Wednesday.
The annual report, required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), found that the number of homeless people in the city of Lodi increased by 50% from the county's last count in 2019 and the most recent in January of 2022.
The county did not conduct a count in the years 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Results from the count showed that the homeless population in Manteca decreased by 41% between 2019 and 2022. The city of Tracy saw a 20% decrease in its homeless population during the same time period and the city of Stockton saw a 3% decrease, the report found.
"Results from the 2022 count indicate that much of the unsheltered homeless living in San Joaquin County remain mired in long-term homelessness and face significant individual barriers to obtaining stable housing," the report says. "Those barriers include lack of income, lack of recent housing and employment history, criminal history, profound physical and mental health challenges, and struggles with substance abuse."
The 42-page report found that 77% of the county's homeless population first became homeless in San Joaquin County and 75% had reported being homeless for at least one year.
According to the report, 2% of the county's homeless population are between the ages of 18 and 24 and 11% are 62 or older.
In total, the report found that 1,355 unsheltered homeless individuals are living in the San Joaquin County area compared to 1,558 recorded in 2019.
The largest percentage of unsheltered homeless, 66%, live in the county's largest city of Stockton, the report said.
The city of Lodi has the second largest homeless population, according to the count's results, followed by Manteca and Tracy.
The report also highlighted progress since 2019 which includes the funding of 788 new low-barrier emergency shelter beds for Stockton.
Since 2019, 251 new units of permanent housing have been rolled out or are under development in the county, according to the report.
"While programs that include robust wraparound services are essential to addressing the individualized nature of homelessness, there are systemic issues contributing to unsheltered homelessness which will require a much greater level of community investment," the report said. "For San Joaquin County, the immense challenges associated with reducing homelessness during this housing crisis will require unprecedented cooperation."
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