The timing is an attempt to track the status of the homelessness crisis and is required every two years by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for some grants and funding. This count was originally planned for 2021, but has been delayed twice, both due to COVID-19 pandemic. First in January 2021, then again in January this year, as COVID-19 omicron variant rose throughout the south California.
From the last official count in 2019, nearly 7,000 people in Orange County experienced homelessness. This week’s count will be the first since the pandemic began, and OC officials say they expect a change of up to 10% in those numbers this time around.
According to HUD statistics published earlier this month, nationwide, more than 326,000 people experienced homelessness in one night in 2021. The number of those in shelters experiencing “chronic homelessness” increased by 20% between 2020 and 2021. HUD’s latest figures account for only people at shelters, due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The count in Orange County begins in homeless shelters Monday. The count without protection is expected to continue from Tuesday to Thursday. Los Angeles CountyThe count of homeless people also begins this week.
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