Volunteer Survey, San Bernardino County Homeless Population Census – Press Enterprise

The annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count was delayed a month due to the winter coronavirus surge, sending San Bernardino County volunteers and officials early Thursday, Feb. 24 to search for vulnerable residents.

It is the first such census in two years. The 2021 deadline count has been canceled due to the pandemic. Officials planned to take the count in January this year but postponed it to await a surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Omicron variant.

Early Thursday, about 800 volunteers and officers spread throughout San Bernardino County to speak to homeless residents for the census, which is part of a federal mandate. The information collected each year is used to allocate funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and is used to guide local efforts to help the homeless. Experts believe the national point-in-time count almost certainly undercuts the number of people without permanent housing.

It will be several months before the results of the San Bernardino County census, as well as the counts that took place this week in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties, will be tallied.

What happens during the count?

Volunteers interview residents in homeless camps, shelters and elsewhere. In addition to just counting, volunteers and officials question them, asking if they are veterans (and thus eligible for additional services), their medical situation, if they have children living with them, what city they lived in when they became homeless, how long they were are already homeless and more.

What was the result of the last count?

In 2020, San Bernardino County identified 3,125 homeless individuals, including 2,390 who were homeless, meaning they had slept in a private or public place not designed as normal sleeping accommodation the night before, and 735 in homeless.

Are more resources on the way?

Yes. On Thursday, February 24, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the San Bernardino County will receive a $1.7 million grant earmarked to provide housing for 150 homeless residents of the county.

The announcement comes a week after a new poll found that 66% of registered voters said Newsom is doing a “bad” or “very bad” job at tackling homelessness.

What new initiatives is the county pursuing to reduce homelessness?

In June, the district created a new senior-level position that will focus full-time on the district’s homelessness efforts, coordinate among several district departments and offices, and reconsider existing efforts, according to district spokeswoman Felisa Cardona.


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