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Homelessness Facts

15% of homeless individuals in Santa Cruz County are living in families with children under the age of 18

11% of the local homeless population are veterans of the U.S. Military

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Santa Cruz County Homeless Census & Survey

Biennially, communities across the country conduct comprehensive counts of their homeless population in order to gain a better understanding of the current homelessness in their community, and to apply for federal funding for homeless programs. Santa Cruz County has worked in conjunction with Applied Survey Research (ASR) to conduct the Santa Cruz County Homeless Census and Survey for adults, families and unaccompanied children every two years, since 2001. Based on the 2013 count, it is estimated that Santa Cruz County is home to more than 3,536 individuals experiencing homelessness.

View the executive summary
View the subpopulations summary  

National Alliance to End Homelessness

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a leading voice on the issue of homelessness. The Alliance analyzes policy and develops pragmatic, cost-effective policy solutions. The Alliance works collaboratively with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to build state and local capacity, leading to stronger programs and policies that help communities achieve their goal of ending homelessness. We provide data and research to policymakers and elected officials in order to inform policy debates and educate the public and opinion leader nationwide.

Snapshot of Homelessness - the Big Picture

While circumstances can vary, the main reason people experience homelessness is because they cannot find housing they can afford. The main behind this inability to acquire or maintain housing is the scarcity of affordable housing in the United States – particularly in more urban areas where homelessness is more prevalent.

By the numbers:

  • There are 643,067 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States.
  • Of that number, 238,110 are people in families, and
  • 404,957 are individuals.
  • 17 percent of the homeless population is considered"chronically homeless," and
  • 12 percent of the homeless population - 67,000 - are veterans.

      These numbers come from point-in-time counts, which are conducted, community by community, on a single night in January every other year. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities to submit this data every other year in order to qualify for federal homeless assistance funds. Many communities conduct counts more regularly.

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

The mission of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) is to coordinate the federal response to homelessness and to create a national partnership at every level of government and with the private sector to reduce and end homelessness in the nation while maximizing the effectiveness of the Federal Government in contributing to the end of homelessness.

The Facts - Affordable and Supportive Housing is Cost-Effective

Opening Doors

The US Interagency Council on homelessness published the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness. The plan entitled Opening Doors serves as a roadmap for joint action by the 19 USICH member agencies along with local and state partners in the public and private sectors. It sets out a strategic plan to end homelessness among subpopulations such as veterans by 2015 and among children and families by 2020.  To view the plan, click here.