The following is a press release issued by the County of Mendocino:
The Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care (MCHSCoC) has released its results from the 2023 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, an annual count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons in Mendocino County. More than 30 volunteers took part in this year’s Point-in-Time Count, which was held on the evening of January 27, 2023. The data collected on that night is organized and submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is typically approved and released back to the community in late summer. In 2023, the total number of persons experiencing both sheltered and unsheltered homelessness counted in Mendocino County was 633 individuals, a 23% reduction from the prior year.
Although a Point-in-Time count is important to establish some dimension of the problem of homelessness in our local communities, the method is complex and limited, and should be considered just one amongst a variety of sources of data needed to tell the whole story of homelessness. Nonetheless, a decrease of this magnitude very likely points to a positive trend in collective efforts to address homelessness in Mendocino County.
“Our communities have worked hard to address homelessness. Over the past several years, our local, state, and federal governments have invested in new affordable housing projects, expanded rental assistance programs, and developed new funding sources specifically for households with children experiencing homelessness. Locally, our communities have significantly improved our communication strategies, including collaboration with our law enforcement agencies,” said Dan McIntire, Co-Chair of the MCHSCoC. “It’s gratifying to see those efforts, both financial and collaborative, reflected in the data. Our community needs and deserves to see the result of what is, ultimately, an investment by taxpayers.”
In 2019, the MCHSCoC underwent an extensive Strategic Planning process that resulted in a comprehensive written plan. The Strategic Plan incorporates a significant majority of recommendations included in Dr. Robert Marbut’s 2018 homelessness needs assessment of Mendocino County and was ultimately endorsed by all city and county jurisdictions in Mendocino County.
“With the Strategic Plan as our guide, the CoC has supported a diverse array of projects focused on strengthening our homeless services system. These new projects include a new Landlord Liaison position and a specialist to organize our Coordinated Entry System. In addition, the CoC continues to prioritize brick-and-mortar projects ranging from emergency shelter to permanent supportive housing.
We believe that our collective work to address the problem of homelessness from many different fronts at once is leading to our apparent progress. That being said, our work is far from over. Some of our hardest-to-serve community members are still living outdoors, and we need to keep seeking creative and new strategies to guide them to a path of wellness and self-sufficiency,” said Jacque Williams, Co-Chair of the MCHSCoC. Some of the highlights from the 2023 PIT count include:
✓ The total number of people living in homeless shelters decreased from 270 individuals in 2022 to 223 individuals in 2023. Please note that the sheltered data in 2022 included individuals living in pandemic-specific sheltering programs that are no longer in operation.
✓ The total number of unsheltered people decreased from 560 individuals in 2022 to 410 individuals in 2023.
✓ 29% of individuals living in shelters are over the age of 55; 16% of those living outdoors are over the age of 55.
About PIT: First conducted in 2005, the PIT count is designed to be an unduplicated count of persons experiencing homelessness on a single night within the last 10 days of January. Communities report the numbers from their counts to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). PIT Count data is used for funding and reporting purposes at both the state and federal level.
These numbers represent merely a point-in-time snapshot and do not reflect the extent of the problem over an entire year. In addition, the PIT Count does not capture individuals and families who are defined as homeless under federal statutes other than HUD. For example, the U.S. Department of Education employs a broader definition of homelessness that includes children in families who are doubled up or living in area motels without a voucher due to economic hardship or housing loss. The PIT Count also does not accurately reflect individuals living in substandard housing that would not be considered habitable by federal standards.
The full PIT report, as well as the MCHSCoC Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness, can be found at www.mendocinococ.org.