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San Mateo Co. homeless count reveals unhoused population up 10% since 2022

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San Mateo County's official point-in-time homeless count, a snapshot census taken in one day of the county's unhoused population, found an 18 percent increase from the count conducted in 2022.

As of Jan. 25, there were 2,130 people experiencing homelessness. That's 322 more individuals than the last count in 2022. Those living outside of a shelter, including people staying on the streets, in cars, RVs or tents, increased by 5 percent since 2022 to 1,145.

The total count included those who live outside in San Mateo County or are spending the night in a shelter. Local officials say there has been a 38 percent increase in people counted in shelters since the 2022 count.

"The county has increased its interim shelter capacity and also purchased several hotels that were converted into permanent supportive housing units for those who had been or were at risk of experiencing homelessness," San Mateo County spokesperson Michelle Durand said in an email.

The point-in-time count, which is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to happen every two years, provides a gauge to measure the success or needs of local service programs.

California has the nation's largest number of homeless people. According to the count by the state, there were 181,399 Californians without homes in 2023, nearly a third of the nation's homeless population.

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