Posted by on July 12, 2017
Categories: Bay Area

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(BANT) – Homelessness dropped 7 percent in Contra Costa County last year, according to a report on the annual Point in Time Count released by the county’s Health, Housing and Homeless Services division.

The count was conducted Jan. 25, and it surveyed residents in emergency shelters or living outdoors. During that 24-hour period, there were 1,607 people living without housing; 911 of them were living outside.

There were roughly 1,100 people living outside in the 2016 count, according to county officials.

The number of people living outdoors rose substantially in central parts of the county, according to Health, Housing and Homeless Services, but that may have been due to an atypically low count in 2016.

The number of people experiencing homelessness in Eastern parts of the county declined this year, but that comes after a 30 percent increase between 2015 and 2016.

Health, Housing and Homeless Services Director Lavonna Martin said the county was glad that fewer people are experiencing homelessness, but there’s still work to do and the Bay Area’s tight housing market is making that difficult.

“It’s not surprising that 80 percent of those we surveyed lost their housing right here in Contra Costa County,” Martin said in a statement.

Since January the county has launched a new initiative to streamline service delivery for homeless residents known as Coordinated Entry – a collaboration between Health, Housing and Homeless Services and the Contra Costa Council on Homelessness funded in part by a $1.2 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

They’re also working with the cities of Concord, Martinez, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek, which have helped fund outreach teams.

Together, they’re working to connect potential clients to services like shelter, health care, mental health care, substance abuse treatment and long-term housing.