San Francisco’s latest point-in-time homeless tally, conducted on a single night in January, estimates the city’s homeless population at 7,499 people.
That’s fewer than the last count in 2015, 7,539 persons. But it’s still up from 2013’s 7,350, and from previous years.
District Four, the Sunset, had the lowest count, coming in at 31. In the last count the district had only seven homeless residents, but in the count before that it was 136.
In Golden Gate Park, which is now counted separately from surrounding districts, the figure was 313 persons, up from 252 in 2015.
Roughly a third of homeless San Franciscans who responded to surveyor’s questions were women, 61 percent were men, five percent were transgender, and one percent identified with no gender at all.
Roughly 30 percent identified as LGBTQ. An estimated 34 percent of homeless survey respondents were black, even though African-Americans make up only six percent of the city’s overall population.
Thirty five percent were white, four percent Asian, three percent Native American, two percent Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 22 percent described as “multiracial.”
Twenty two percent were Hispanic/Latino, which may or may not overlap with other demographic groups.
The number of homeless youth was 513 this year, down from 853 two years ago.
The proportion of “first time homeless” was 25 percent this year, down from 30 percent in 2015 and 48 percent in 2013.
The leading causes of homelessness, according to those who responded to the questions: job loss (22 percent), alcohol or drug problems (15 percent), family dispute (13 percent), eviction (12 percent), and divorce or breakups (10 percent).
Asked what their biggest obstacle was toward finding permanent shelter, 56 percent cited the cost of renting in the city, 33 percent cited joblessness, and 25 percent blamed a shortage of housing.
Jeff Kositsky, director of the Department of Homeless Affairs, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “This report didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know,” and predicted that the count would be down significantly by 2019.