SLO County reports decline in homeless population - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

SLO County reports decline in homeless population

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San Luis Obispo County has released its 2017 Homeless Census Survey and Report.

According to the report, the number of homeless people living in the county has decreased by 26 percent since 2015.

The county conducts a census of the homeless population every two years. It was conducted this year over a 12-hour period from January 29-30. 

Volunteers contacted and recorded the number of homeless people living in shelters, transitional housing, on the streets, in vehicles, abandoned buildings, motels, and other locations not meant for habitation.

The 2017 count found 1,125 homeless people in San Luis Obispo County compared to 1,515 people during the last count two years ago.

This decrease in SLO County comes as several cities or municipal regions on the West Coast have declared states of emergency due to the rise in homelessness. An Associated Press report out this month found approximately 168,000 homeless people living in California, Oregon and Washington combined, an increase of 19,000 since 2015.

Officials with the Department of Social Services say heavy rains around the time of this year's census likely had an impact on the size of the decrease, but they also believe new programs to provide housing to the homeless are helping. They add that the annual survey is "intended to be a snapshot of the population in a single point in time" and "does not provide an estimate of the annual number of persons who were homeless throughout the year."

Santa Barbara County's 2017 homeless census found a fairly steady population of 1,489 people, a 2 percent increase over 2015.

Click here to see the full report from SLO County.

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