Orange County reported an average length of time homeless of 340 days, up from 272 days the previous year, in the annual System Performance Measures report. The median length of time homeless also increased, from 138 to 162 days.
System Performance Measures report on twelve months of data from emergency shelter, transitional housing, and permanent housing programs. The data in the report is from Oct. 1, 2017, through Sept. 30, 2018 (Federal Fiscal Year 2017-18).
“Our goal is for homelessness in Orange County to be rare, brief and one time," says Corey Root, Homeless Programs Coordinator for Orange County. "By brief we mean people end their experience of homelessness as quickly as possible, on average of 30 to 90 days."
Orange County also reported 131 people experiencing homelessness in the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) count, a decrease from 152 people reported last year. Since 2010 there has been a 3% decrease in the overall number, from 135 in 2010 to 131 this year. From 2010 through 2018, the number of people experiencing homelessness decreased 15% nationwide and decreased 26% statewide.
“Orange County can have similar dramatic decreases in the number of people experiencing homelessness by addressing our 10 homeless system gaps,” Root says.
Of the 131 people reported homeless this year, 29 were living on the streets and 102 were in shelter or transitional housing. The majority of people homeless in Orange County were found to be living in adults-only households, male and over age 25.
Of the total PIT count, 24 people, or 18%, are experiencing chronic homelessness – these are people who have a disability and have been homeless for more than a year. Orange County has a 37% decrease in chronic homelessness since 2010.
“We are also looking at these demographics through a racial equity lens,” Root notes. Twelve percent of Orange County population overall is black or African-American compared with 51% of people experiencing homelessness. “We know this is the result of systemic racism overall, historically and ongoing discriminatory policies in housing and generational wealth specifically. This is why we must address racial equity as part of the work to end homelessness.”
The Point-in-Time count is an unduplicated count of households that are homeless – both people living in places not meant for human habitation and those living in shelter and transitional housing.
The 2018 PIT count took place the night of Wednesday January 30, 2019. That night volunteers went out across Orange County to locate people living on the streets. In addition, service agencies counted people experiencing homelessness who presented for services.
The Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness coordinates the Point-in-Time count and System Performance Measures reporting each year. OCPEH is a coalition of housing and service providers, local government and the broader community working together to prevent and end homelessness in Orange County.