Homeless census: Far fewer people living on county streets


San Mateo County is home to approximately 747,400 people, according to the U.S. census. While some still call the county home without, in fact, having one, their numbers are down. Preliminary estimates show that around 690 people are living on the streets, in vehicles or in encampments, lower by 47 percent from the 1,299 people counted in 2013.

The county's biannual census of the homeless took place Jan. 22, when some 200 volunteers went out in the predawn hours to count those they found living without an address. The census is documented in a report by the county's Human Services Agency.

Also down, but by just 7 percent, is the number of people living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, motels and institutions: 915 in 2015 versus 982 in 2013.

Of the households in shelters, 124 are families with dependent children. There are no children living on the street, the report said.

Final numbers, including information on what led people to homelessness and how long they've been so, are due in May.

The overall decrease in homelessness "is great news for San Mateo County, and evidence that our community's collective efforts are working," said Iliana Rodriguez, director of the Human Services Agency.

"We still have work to do, in getting everyone desiring a home in one, and this data suggests that we are making progress," Ms. Rodriguez said. "Addressing or preventing homelessness ultimately creates a stronger, more stable and more thriving community across the board."

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