Special to the Vanguard
Woodland, CA – This week Yolo County released the complete report of its 2022 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count (PDF). The PIT is a survey of individuals and families identified as experiencing sheltered or unsheltered homelessness within the boundaries of Yolo County on a single night. The 2022 count identified 746 people experiencing homelessness on February 23.
The count is the first unsheltered PIT since 2019 as a winter surge of COVID-19 delayed the 2021 count. The surveys collected demographic information on the homeless population in terms of race, ethnicity, age, how long they have been in Yolo County, how long they have been unhoused, and other key information to help programs understand the needs of the overall unhoused population.
While Yolo County experienced an overall increase of 13.9% in the 2022 count compared to 2019, Yolo County saw a decrease of 4.8% in unsheltered homelessness.
Yolo County has two main oversight entities that support coordination, strategy, and funding for homelessness in Yolo County. The Davis/Woodland/Yolo County Continuum of Care (CA-521), also known as the Yolo County Homeless and Poverty Action Coalition (HPAC), is a local nonprofit that provides leadership and coordination on the issues of homelessness and poverty in Yolo County.
The County’s Commission to Address Homelessness is comprised of elected officials from Woodland, West Sacramento, Davis, Winters, and the Chair of (HPAC). The Commission officially launched in March 2020. It supports countywide policy, strategy, and funding recommendations to address homelessness and housing issues.
“The Yolo County PIT count plays an essential role in analyzing and addressing the current state of homelessness in our County,” said County Supervisor Gary Sandy and Chair of the countywide Commission to Address Homelessness. “We thank our community partners who assisted in completing our 2022 PIT count and appreciate the effort to coordinate our resources better, maximize State and Federal funding, and strategically address the needs of those who lack housing.”
Some of the highlights from the 2022 PIT include:
- The decrease in unsheltered homelessness and the increase in the number of programs in Yolo led to a higher sheltered count this year.
- 22% of individuals surveyed lived in Yolo all their life, with an additional 16% having lived here for 7 or more years.
- Almost 50% of those surveyed came to Yolo because they grew up here or their family or friends are here.
- Less than 5% responded that they came here for good social services or affordable housing.
- 2019 saw a 43% increase in the homeless population. With our current efforts, we are hoping that the 2022 increase of 13.9% is a start of a downward trend.
- Some state and federal funding will be based on the 2022 PIT.
- The PIT is one tool we use to identify health and racial disparities, allowing us to address systemic issues within our continuum better.
“When we look at the data from this report regarding the length of time individuals have been in Yolo, we see that these folks are a part of our community, often friends, neighbors, and loved ones,” said Ian Evans, Adult and Aging Branch Director for Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency and staff to the Commission to Address Homelessness. “While we still have a lot of work to do in continuing to address homelessness, I am encouraged by the efforts of so many in our community to address the ongoing needs of those in our County experiencing unsheltered or sheltered homelessness.”
“Looking at surrounding counties, we see overall increases of 30, 40, and in some cases as high as 70% homelessness. The fact that Yolo only experienced a 13.9% increase during this time and a decrease in unsheltered homelessness speaks to the collaborative efforts that occur in our community from those in leadership, jurisdictions, community-based providers, faith organizations, volunteers, and staff alike. This is a community issue, and we must continue to work as a community to address it,” said Evans.
When considering the numbers in the count, it is important to recognize that they reflect only those persons identified as homeless within the County on a single day. Many people move in and out of homelessness during a year, meaning that the actual number of people experiencing homelessness in 2022 may be higher than the numbers included in this report.