Every year, Alameda County conducts a point-in-time count of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. “EveryOne Counts” records the number of people staying in shelters and transitional housing on a given night in late January. The count also estimates the number of people who are unsheltered and living outdoors.
Building Futures staff members always help conduct EveryOne Counts. In January, volunteers arose at daybreak to walk the streets in the dark. In all, they recorded 5,629 people experiencing homelessness. 3,863 were unsheltered—living in tents, parks, vacant buildings, underpasses, and cars. 50% of those interviewed said they had lived in Alameda County for ten years or more before becoming homeless. Homelessness is not a choice: only 2% said they were not interested in being housed.
In Alameda County, the median asking rent is now $2,593. This is 300% of the maximum Cal WORKS grant, seven times the maximum General Assistance grant, and nearly three times higher than the maximum SSI or Disability income.
The stark reality makes clear why Building Futures’ programs and services are so critically needed today. “The dignity of people experiencing homelessness … the dignity of our neighborhoods and our communities, is at stake,” says EveryOne Home Executive Director, Elaine de Coligny.
Visit www.everyonehome.org for more details on Everyone Counts Alameda County’s plan for addressing the need, and ways you can get involved.
This article first appeared in our Summer 2017 Newsletter.