According to a report released last week by Sacramento Steps Forward, an agency that coordinates local efforts to aid the homeless, there are 3,665 people living without permanent shelter in Sacramento County. Almost 2,000 of the homeless people counted are living outside, which is the first time that more people were living in the elements than in a shelter. The number of homeless people rose 30 percent since 2015, which was the last time the homeless population was counted. Surprisingly, the number of unsheltered homeless in the county skyrocketed by 85 percent the past couple of years, and around 800 of those are chronically homeless. Ryan Loofbourrow, CEO of Sacramento Steps Forward, states:
It’s important to own that these people on your street are your people. It’s easier to think this is a tragedy that has come to us.
According to Sacramento Steps Forward, 70 percent of people it comes in contact with say they are from the city where they are currently sleeping. Because homeless people are starting to stay near familiar areas, homeless people are starting to become more visible in residential and suburban areas. According to Loofbourrow, housing costs are one of the strongest warning factors for homeless rates in communities, because homelessness tends to be high in places where a high percentage of residents spend more than 30 percent of income on housing. The Sacramento Housing Alliance, an advocacy and research group that supports building more affordable housing, states that 4 out of 10 residents in Sacramento spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing. It’s a tough situation, but something must be done to help homeless people and decrease the amount of chronically homeless people.