Report: Bay Area has nation's third-highest homeless population

Research group calls for more shelters, housing, funding to solve humanitarian crisis on streets

The nation's third largest population of homeless people, roughly 28,000, reside in the Bay Area, and most of them are unsheltered, according to a study released Wednesday, April 10, by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, a research arm of the Bay Area Council.

If gathered in one place, the homeless population would be as large or larger than that of roughly half the cities in the region. It is the third largest in the U.S. Larger homeless communities can be found in Los Angeles and New York.

The report offers up a number of interventions that could be implemented, such as forming regional task forces or a new state Homeless Services Agency to coordinate efforts and funding across multiple layers of state and local governments.

"The Bay Area's homeless crisis is a regional humanitarian crisis that does not abide traditional local boundaries ... One city, one county alone cannot solve homelessness, but that's largely how we've been approaching it," Micah Weinberg, president of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, said in a statement.

The report found that diversion and prevention programs aimed at keeping at-risk residents in their homes are cost-effective compared to alternatives, and recommended providing more accommodations for the unsheltered.

Drastically increasing the availability of supportive housing, transitional units, shelter space and other options based on the region's current and projected needs would at least give people experiencing homelessness somewhere safe to go, according to the report.

The report cites a number of successful efforts to house the homeless -- such as Tuff Shed villages in Oakland and rapid rehousing programs in San Francisco, as well as millions invested by the private sector -- but points out they haven't yet solved the crisis.

The 44-page document can be found online at It was commissioned to guide the Bay Area Council's work on homelessness and related issues.

The council is a public-policy-advocacy organization crewed by top executives for some of the largest employers in the Bay Area, representing more than 4 million workers. For more information go to

— Bay City News Service

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4 people like this
Posted by Stan
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Apr 11, 2019 at 1:27 pm

Our state at 19% of the population living below the poverty line is 2 percentage points higher than any other state in the nation.Welcome to Camelot.

3 people like this
Posted by RanchGal
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 11, 2019 at 3:28 pm

RanchGal is a registered user.

What do people expect? The best weather, free cash, food and services? [Portion removed; please don't make such sweeping assertions with no evidence to support them.] Rhode Island has the right idea.
Watch the video “Seattle is Dying” by KOMO News especially the end of the video where Rhode Island has the amazing solution !
San Francisco is number one on the list and Seattle is number two. A shocking exposé.

18 people like this
Posted by Cayo
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 11, 2019 at 4:02 pm

What percent of the homeless are employed in service jobs and can no longer afford even the most basic apartment let alone a ROOM in this area with its sky high rents and lack of affordable housing? Let's not assume people are streaming here for benefits or freebies. I don't feel that's the case at all.

2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 11, 2019 at 5:42 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"What percent of the homeless are employed in service jobs and can no longer afford even the most basic apartment let alone a ROOM in this area with its sky high rents and lack of affordable housing? "

Very few in my experience. A high percentage have mental problems (schizophrenia, etc). There is a chunk that are addicts to either alcohol or drugs. And then tiny percentage that have fallen on hard times.

This problem started when we closed our mental institutions and turned out the people that should have been in them. These people are living on the streets because they can't PROPERLY care for themselves. Unfortunately, the law doesn't allow the government to take them into custody and take care of them. Fix that legal problem and reopen mental institutions for people that have incurable mental problems and you will go a long way to solving the homeless problem.

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 11, 2019 at 7:58 pm

I agree with Menlo Voter. We need to fix the root problem rather than continuing to put band aids on it and then throwing more money at the band aids.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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