San Luis Obispo mountains with a blue overlay reading "2024 San Luis Obispo County Community Report - What We Learned from the 2024 Point-in-Time Count"

County of San Luis Obispo Releases 2024 Point-in-Time Count Community Report

Author: Homeless Services Division
Date: 6/3/2024 12:00 PM

The San Luis Obispo County 2024 Point-in-Time Count reveals a 19% reduction in local homelessness on a single night since 2022, highlighting progress and ongoing service needs.

San Luis Obispo, CAThe County of San Luis Obispo has released its 2024 San Luis Obispo County Community Report on the findings of the 2024 Point-in-Time Count, the communitywide census of all those experiencing homelessness on a single night. On the night of January 22, 2024, there were 1,175 individuals identified experiencing homelessness in San Luis Obispo County, a 19% reduction in local homelessness on a single night compared to the Point-in-Time Count conducted in 2022.

The Community Report is a comprehensive overview of the information collected by more than 250 volunteers, including service providers and people with lived experience with homelessness, who canvassed San Luis Obispo County from seven different logistics centers on the morning of January 23, 2024. During this communitywide event, 513 people experiencing unsheltered homelessness agreed to be interviewed by volunteers to learn their demographics and share about their experience, including length of time homeless and service access needs.  The information learned from the Point-in-Time Count measures progress in addressing local homelessness and identifies service needs within the community.

“The 2024 Point-in-Time Count provides invaluable information that only strengthens our understanding of homelessness in our community,” said Dawn Ortiz-Legg, County Supervisor for the 5th District and current member of the San Luis Obispo County Homeless Services Oversight Council (HSOC). “We’re able to use this data to identify service gaps and pursue effective policies and programs. It’s all about refining our approach and making meaningful progress toward ending homelessness in San Luis Obispo County.”

According to Linda Belch, Deputy Director for the Department of Social Services, “the longitudinal trends identified by the Point-in-Time Counts are a testament to the incredible coordination and collaboration among our service providers. We can pause and honor the reduction of homelessness observed in this year’s count and remain committed to ensuring every individual has access to necessary support and housing opportunities.”

“We can’t thank the community enough for coming together to make the 2024 Point-In-Time count happen,” said Michelle Shoresman, Chair of the San Luis Obispo County Homeless Services Oversight Council. “Without the over 250 service providers and volunteer community members, we could not have obtained this reliable count which will provide the Homeless Services Oversight Council with the data to guide our efforts in addressing homelessness countywide.”

“Accurate information plays a pivotal role in making data-driven decisions in our collective effort to address local homelessness,” shared Mark Lamore, Homeless Services Director for Transitions-Mental Health Association and Chair of the HSOC’s Data and Performance Committee. “The Point-in-Time Count is a snapshot of our current homeless population and, alongside the County’s Homeless Management Information System, this data helps identify the challenges we face and underscores the progress we are making to serve our homeless community members.”

Key findings identified in the Community Report include the following:
  • A total of 1,175 people were identified experiencing homelessness on the night of January 22, 2024, in San Luis Obispo County. There were 800 people counted experiencing unsheltered homelessness, which includes those sleeping in vehicles, tents, or other places not meant for habitation, and 375 individuals experiencing sheltered homelessness, as they were residing in emergency shelter or transitional housing on the night of the count.
  • Compared to the 2022 Point-in-Time Count, there was a 28% increase in sheltering capacity in local emergency shelters and transitional housing on the night of the count, demonstrating the effectiveness of recent investments to create and sustain emergency shelter operations. 
  • Volunteers interviewed 64% of the population experiencing unsheltered homelessness in San Luis Obispo County, a significant increase from the 29% survey response rate in 2022.
  • Housing affordability was a significant barrier to housing for 456 people of 503 survey respondents.
  • More than 88% of survey respondents indicated they lived in San Luis Obispo County for at least one year or longer, and 75% of individuals surveyed have lived in San Luis Obispo County for at least five years.
  • Of 463 respondents who slept unsheltered on January 22, 2024, 140 people were sleeping in vehicles, 120 people were in outdoor encampments, and 118 people were sleeping on the street or sidewalk on the night of the count.
  • 72% of the unsheltered population are between the ages of 35 and 54 years old, and 97% are in adult-only households showing a growing population of elder adults experiencing local homelessness.
  • 35% of the unsheltered population are chronically homeless, meaning they live with a disabling condition and have experienced homelessness for an extended amount of time.   
  • Out of 510 unsheltered adults, 45% were identified as having a serious mental illness (SMI), and 13% of people experiencing sheltered homelessness identified as having an SMI.  
  • Fewer than 7% of people in emergency shelters or transitional housing reported a substance use disorder (SUD), and 53% of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness reported living with a SUD.
Point-in-Time Counts occur in communities throughout the nation every two years during the last 10 days of January using methodology set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The information learned from the Point-in-Time Count, alongside additional performance metrics, is used to determine regional funding allocations from both the California State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and HUD.

The County of San Luis Obispo contracted with Sacramento-based firm Thurmond Consulting, LLC for the 2024 PIT Count, including the preparation of the Community Report.

A full copy of the 2024 Community Report may be found at