Contra Costa Homeless Population Up 43 Percent Since 2017

May 22, 2019 8:00 am · 29 comments

There were at least 2,295 homeless residents of Contra Costa County one day in January and most of them are unsheltered, according to data from Contra Costa Health Services’ 2019 Point in Time count.

Each year volunteers and county staff canvas known encampments and other areas frequented by the homeless community over a 24-hour period to conduct surveys and gather information for planning purposes.

This year the homeless population grew slightly, by about 3 percent, but since 2017, the number is up 43 percent, the same as in Alameda County.

Homelessness in San Francisco jumped 17 percent from 2017. In San Jose, homelessness was up 42 percent since 2017 and in Santa Clara County 31 percent.

There were 1,627 unsheltered homeless in Contra Costa County on Jan. 29. Roughly 60 percent of them were sleeping in encampments, in parks or on sidewalks. Just over 30 percent were living in vehicles.

Roughly 10 percent of the unsheltered homeless had gone either to a warming shelter or sought refuge in an abandoned building, attic or garage.

Almost all of them were single adults. Three percent or 37 were families experiencing homelessness together.

Of the 668 sheltered homeless counted on Jan. 29, 11 percent or 62 of them were families. The county’s limited shelter space can accommodate roughly 63 percent of the homeless families in Contra Costa, but for single
adults there is a vast unmet need.

Only 28 percent of them can be served with the county’s existing inventory of shelter beds.

The number of homeless veterans has increased 14 percent over last year’s count to 114, although the number of homeless seniors 62 and older decreased 18 percent to 161.

Geographically, Contra Costa County’s homeless population is evenly distributed, with 32 percent in west county, 38 percent in central county and 30 percent in east county.

Mountainside Jay May 22, 2019 at 8:03 AM

Allow the housing market to roar out of control, refuse to build new housing or even make it easy to, don’t impose rent controls, and people go homeless. Huh. Strange how that happens.

Cowellian May 22, 2019 at 8:49 AM

Rent Control ALWAYS acts to decrease the available housing supply.

Mr. Hunt May 22, 2019 at 8:17 AM

The data doesn’t show the ones who refuse to use shelters because they dont want to follow the rules of staying sober while being at the shelter. The amount of homeless patients has gone that come in and say they don’t use drugs and then their urine shows up dirty with meth and other drugs. With their permission we contact an emergency contact, and that emergency contact tells us not to call them because because so and so refuses to stay clean and not steal from their home.

You want to solve our homeless problem?
Make a large in patient drug treatment center. And a large in patient psych center and rehabilitate these people to become useful to society again.

Contra costa blvd has tweakers up and down that road all day and every day. There is this one lady in particular who yells at people and gets violent and chases people down. Police show up. Then an ambulance shows up and takes her away. And then SHES BACK THE NEXT DAY DOING IT again.

Dawg May 22, 2019 at 12:25 PM

Drug treatment doesn’t work unless the person really wants to get off drugs, and even then it isn’t an easy task.
You can’t force treatment on people if they don’t want it.

Justifiable anger May 22, 2019 at 12:45 PM

The most reliable way to rehabilite drug users is to enprison them.
They commit crimes for survival and refuse help with the habit. Utterly destructive and harmful to innocent people and the environment.

The Mamba May 22, 2019 at 3:07 PM

Drug treatment for people that are really trying to get off has a single digit success rate, forget about it for people that aren’t trying, it’s a massive waste of money.

Patriot May 22, 2019 at 8:21 AM

Interesting. Unemployment is at record low. The economy is great. Most homelessness is drug related. I’m sure glad we legalized marijuana.

futbllwmn May 22, 2019 at 8:26 AM

This truly surprises me….. I thought it would be much more than 43%.

Forsythe May 22, 2019 at 8:33 AM

Recommended reading (two books):

Book 1. Insane Consequences. How The Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill.

Book 2. The Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness.

RANDOM TASK May 22, 2019 at 9:09 AM

well it appears the dem agenda is in full swing
the dem politicians idealized homeless as a benefit and got a 43% increase
as well as securing a 43% increase if fed money they get to play with
the dem politicians plan of slamming us with bums and then during re election using them to get re reelected by claiming to solve the problem after they created it …wow voters must be pleased they got duped again

kudos voters cc county is now a sty a place of low income and bummage
a well deserved clap for sticking it to the fed and taking more bum money
they must be pushing for another increase this year maybe an even 40 %
to push us over the filth cap

and yes straws are banned but bums are being bussed in
schools are failing and illegals are getting free rides
roads are failing and more taxes to come claimed to be for roads
a soccer stadium we get to pay for and upkeep while lowincome housing and rent control loom
wow voters have done well

I am sure they are proud and tell all their friends they have voted for it all
and love the new bums and low scoring schools and crumbling roads and low income housing and high crime and bars and night life and ….wait isn’t that what people say about mexico ???

well its nice that dem politicians and city councils have picked a great example to build off of
I am sure they are proud and working to do more of the same

must be nice to bash the fed and slam the fed and denounce the fed then scam them for money and whine for disaster money as the politicians spend no money on maintaining infrastructure until after the fact so they can use fed money

keep up the good work ….soon cruise ships will be coming with tourists to spend a few hours at mtz and pitts and Antioch with busses to conturd

tell all your friends

commoncents May 22, 2019 at 2:43 PM

I think you’ll be welcomed in Alabama…

Ricardoh May 22, 2019 at 9:51 AM

Heard the Prince of San Francisco Governor on the news last night saying he was going to spend a billion dollars on the homeless. After the graft that should amount to a couple hundred thousand dollars. I have little hope that after spending a billion dollars the democrats can come up with a solution. The solution has to be practical not compassionate.

Tsa May 22, 2019 at 12:29 PM

Politicians love to treat the symptoms and not address the problem itself. That way they can say, “look at me and what I’m doing” which translates to absolutely nothing worthwhile. It’s the life and goal of a self centered politician…

Patty May 22, 2019 at 10:08 AM

I have seen the same guy on the same corner on Richmond Parkway every day for the past 19 years. He is only gone for a few days at a time when he is probably in jail or in the hospital. Then he appears back, sometimes shaved and standing up straight, but it doesn’t take long for him to start looking they way he usually does. This is not about unemployment. It is about drugs and mental health. But then, you add 100,000 illegal immigrants a month raiding our country, and the problem only gets worse.Local governments need to push them out. It is scary getting on and off freeways because all of a sudden some sleezy looking bum is standing outside your window after they crawled out of their underpass tent. Not to mention the trash that is everywhere. If they can count them, they can kick them out.

Mark Dice May 22, 2019 at 12:07 PM

It will continue to rise as surrounding towns like Danville, Walnut Creek, Lafayette send the homeless in our direction.

The Mamba May 22, 2019 at 1:39 PM

We know.

oh please May 22, 2019 at 1:58 PM

It’s unfortunate that there seems to be a blanket stereotype of what a homeless person is and does. They aren’t all mentally ill, they all aren’t drug addicts, they all aren’t veterans.They are as unique as those of us responding to the article as well as those who have written it.

Gititogether May 22, 2019 at 3:03 PM

Spot-on…from my experience, the overwhelming majority are able, but unwilling…advocates know this, but acknowledging it would only lead to lessening the problem…and a decrease in the ever increasing billions diverted from more legitimate need

ConCabCathy May 22, 2019 at 5:15 PM

Touche’ I spend nearly 50% of my monthly income to rent a room. One of my drivers is living in his car and 2 others are sharing the cost of a room rental. No drugs or mental illness in these situations, just high priced rentals. God forbid anything happens to the gentleman I rent a room from because I would be part of the 43% or as Random Task wrote, a BUM.

Dennis May 22, 2019 at 7:50 PM

@ConCabCathy…if you find it so expensive to live here why don’t you choose to live somewhere else less expensive? My friend moved to Nebraska, bought a $200K home which is large, and is doing fine there. I could not afford to live in Beverly Hills, but you don’t hear me complaining about it.

Aaron May 22, 2019 at 10:35 PM

People get stuck living in expensive places all the time because they can’t afford to relocate, have family to take care of, or have a support network that makes a barely tenable situation work.

Gittyup May 23, 2019 at 5:27 AM

Unless you are retired and have a steady, reliable income other than working, you might move to a big fancy house in Nebraska, but your wages are not going to compare to what you were earning here. You aren’t going to have the variety of employment opportunities available and you aren’t going to be well paid for whatever specialized skills you have. It might make sense for a retiree, but not a gainfully employeed adult, especially mid-career.

Gittyup May 23, 2019 at 5:46 AM

@Dennis I was born and raised in Northern California. I’m sure as hell not moving to Nebraska. Why don’t you?

tashaj May 23, 2019 at 9:16 AM

@Gittyup
It sounds like ConCabCathy is a taxi or Uber driver, and not a nuclear physicist from Livermore or electronics engineer from Silicon Valley. The same is true about the vast majority of people in the Bay Area who spend 50-60% of their monthly income on rent – their skills aren’t specialized at all and are very much portable. So the danger of not being paid enough for their “specialized skills” doesn’t really exist, does it?
There are however very real problems, such as: 1) low-skilled jobs are paid poorly anywhere; 2) most people in these jobs have zero disposable income and no savings to fund a cross-country move; 3) simple human inertia, when a bad, but familiar living situation is preferred to a potentially better, but unfamiliar environment. And, of course, an overgrown sense of entitlement, because you’ve been born and raised here.
All of these problems (except entitlement) are better addressed with prevention than treatment. A little money spent to help people on the brink of homelessness (from financial counseling to relocation assistance in the form of grants or interest-free loans) would be much more effective than what CA does now. Which is pouring billions into homeless shelters, low income housing (in Bay Area and LA costs on average $750K per unit to built), and various “non-profits” whose main goal seems to keep people on the streets so that their funding doesn’t dry up.

Gittyup May 23, 2019 at 10:33 PM

I don’t believe that anyone born here and desirous of staying put should be forced to relocate. It smacks of the forced relocation of Native Americans onto reservations and is clearly a violation of a native Californian’s human rights.

In some respects, and I’ve seen it for years, the true “transients” in California are the people from elsewhere who come … and go … and come back again … to live and work here … displacing those who have lived here their entire lives.

California natives of a certain age are an endangered species of sorts. Their way of life has been damaged by those very “transients” who think they know what’s best for them. Entitled because they are natives? Yes, they are!

Concord Mike May 22, 2019 at 5:03 PM

We have 25 cities in Contra Costa County, and only 2 (Concord and Richmond) have year-round homeless shelters. I think a third is getting established in Antioch. Time for the other cities to step up and help the county provide shelters and services for their homeless populations.

Recall ‘Em All May 22, 2019 at 6:58 PM

I don’t care if someone needs a place to sleep because thy are without a place. I do care if they leave bottles of urine, and other things behind for others to clean up. If you need to sleep in a park, go for it. But if you need to disrespect our parks by leaving your sh!! for others to take care of, then shame on you. You deserve to be written up and held accountable!

Dennis May 22, 2019 at 7:41 PM

If you give people a free ride they will line up in droves for more of whatever it is your are giving away. We have to quit ruling with our hearts and start using our heads for once. Stop with the softhearted BS and this problem will evaporate on it’s own. No freebies no homeless. Simple as that.

Gittyup May 23, 2019 at 5:39 AM

They’re going to come whether you build it or not. These figures prove it because certainly Concord hasn’t exactly welcomed the homeless to their door. The climate out here is much better, especially in the summer, so unless the problem is addressed and solutions found Concord will become a Dicken’s novel in short order. Sad that the honeless meet the kind of callous attitudes expressed here. I’m sure that does nothing to improve their mental health. And, just out of curiosity, where would you go to the bathroom if facilities weren’t available and you absolutely had to go?

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