Sacramento County’s homeless population is getting bigger

Early look at point-in-time data shows a nearly 5 percent increase over 2013

Homelessness increased nearly 5 percent in Sacramento since 2013. That's according to an early look at point-in-time data released this week by the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires communities to conduct point-in-time counts of their homeless populations on a biannual basis. Volunteers conduct these surveys over the span of a single day, and typically come away with a soft indication of the actual homeless population due to several factors, including the weather, the willingness of participants and the transient nature of the population being surveyed. The results are tied to federal housing assistance dollars available to each community.

Since the last point-in-time count in 2013, the overall homeless population rose from 2,538 individuals counted to 2,659. This includes increases in the number of chronically homeless, veterans, youth and those without any shelter.

Glimmers of hope can be read in the decreases of homeless individuals who claimed to be victims of addiction, domestic violence or mental illness, though the latter still accounted for 22 percent of the overall population.

Sacramento Steps Forward will officially release its point-in-time report next month.