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Alameda County’s homeless population growing

A homeless encampment in West Oakland
Thomas Hawk
Flickr / Creative Commons
A homeless encampment in West Oakland

The count completed in February was the first since 2019 and was delayed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Counts are typically taken every two years.

Populations of both sheltered and unsheltered people were up since 2019. Seventy-five percent of the population has been on the streets for a year or more. Black people make up 43 percent of the homeless population, more than any other racial group.

Katie Haverly, acting executive director for EveryOne Home, a community-based organization which released the official Point-in-Time count numbers. She said, “There's a lot of economic factors that are driving our homelessness.”

A resident must earn $44 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Alameda County, Haverly said. That's nearly three times the minimum wage, she said.

Haverly said a surprising result was the increase in the number of people living in vehicles. That number rose from 1,431 to 2,319, a 62 percent increase.

Sixteen percent of the county's homeless people lost their homes because of COVID-19, according to the report. Sixty-eight percent had received a COVID-19 vaccine.

More than half of the county's homeless population resides in Oakland. More than 3,300 were unsheltered in the city while about 1,700 were sheltered.