The number of homeless veterans in Santa Cruz County has more than doubled since 2019, according to new data from the county.
The county announced the results of its biennial Point-in-Time Count of the number of people experiencing homelessness in the county.
The 2022 Point-In-Time Count revealed there were at least 2,299 people who experienced homelessness in Santa Cruz County, an overall increase of 6 percent from the count in 2019, according to a news release from the Santa Cruz County Housing for Health Partnership.
The numbers included 1,774 unsheltered individuals, which include those without access to reliable temporary housing accommodations like a homeless shelter. The numbers are considered conservative.
The count was last done in 2019 and was paused last year amid COVID-19 pandemic.
The snapshot did see a decrease of 59 percent in overall homelessness among families and a 94 percent decrease in unsheltered families experiencing homelessness.
“The 2022 PIT Count shows significant progress in addressing homelessness among families and youth,” said Robert Ratner, director of the county’s Housing for Health Division. “However, there have been significant increases in homelessness among seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities. The lack of affordable housing remains the biggest barrier to preventing and ending homelessness in the community,” Ratner said.
Director Ratner was scheduled to give a detailed presentation of the Point-In-Time Count during the Aug. 9 meeting of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.