Census and Survey

County Releases Homeless Count Data for 2013

PRESS RELEASE – San Luis Obispo, October 31, 2013 – The Homeless Services Oversight Council (HSOC) of San Luis Obispo County today released the results of its Point-in-Time (PIT) Count and Survey of Homeless Persons for 2013.  The count and survey are conducted at least biannually and are required by the federal government in order for the County to receive homeless assistance funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  The previous count and survey were conducted in 2011.

The count found 2,186 people were homeless in a single 24 hour period in January 2013 in San Luis Obispo County.  It is estimated that 3,497 persons are homeless at some point in time over the course of a year.  Local homeless service programs last year served 2,534 unique individuals.

Of those counted by the PIT count on a single 24 hour period in 2013, approximately 89% of the population was unsheltered.  This is unchanged from the 89% who were found unsheltered during the 2011 count.

Following the count, 385 homeless persons were surveyed in February and March of 2013 to obtain demographic and other information, including health status and service uses and needs.  This data was then compiled and analyzed by a third party research firm.   The HSOC also compared the Point In Time Count and Survey information to annual data collected by homeless programs and local school districts to provide a more comprehensive overview of the population.

The 2013 PIT count used the definition of homelessness used by HUD, which includes persons living in shelters and places not meant for human habitation, but excludes persons who are living doubled up with others due to economic hardship or those living in RV or trailer parks.  Annual school data includes children who are living doubled up with others due to economic hardship or those living in RV or trailer parks, in accordance with the broader, U.S. Department of Education definition of homelessness.

Key Findings:

  • The population in San Luis Obispo County of those who meet the HUD definition of homeless has increased slightly (3%) since 2011.
  • Annual school data also suggests there has been a substantial increase in the number of children who are unstably housed.
  • The majority of homeless persons are from this area.
  • Overall, the data suggests a relatively large percentage of this population is chronically homeless or has significant service needs.  26% were chronically homeless and many more appear to be at risk of becoming chronically homeless:

50% reported this was not their first episode of homelessness.

47% of those surveyed reported their current episode of homelessness had lasted a year or more as of the time of the survey.

49% reported experiencing a mental illness (e.g. chronic depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc.)

More than one in three persons (38%) reported having been injured in a manner that is a possible indicator of traumatic brain injury.   Traumatic brain injury can affect cognition and sometimes mimics the symptoms of mental illness.

These statistics demonstrate the need for more permanent, supportive housing for persons with disabilities as well as more treatment services. . . . . . .


Contact Social Services

Child and Adult Hotline Information:

  • If you suspect there is an emergency requiring immediate intervention, call 911
  • To report suspected child abuse or neglect call the 24 hour Child Abuse Hotline at (805) 781-KIDS (5437) or toll free 1-800-834-KIDS (5437)
  • To report suspected elder abuse or neglect call the Adult Services Hotline at (805) 781-1790 during regular business hours, or after business hours call (844) 729-8011