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Hundreds of homeless will get a morning greeting Wednesday for the ‘Point in Time’ count

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The Point in Time homeless count will take place Wednesday in Santa Barbara county (Photo: John Palminteri)
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The Point in Time homeless count will take place Wednesday in Santa Barbara county (Photo: John Palminteri)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Volunteers will fan out before dawn Wednesday for the "point in time" count to get updated statistics on homelessness in many California counties including Santa Barbara.

The count had been done every two years. Now is is being done annually.

Last year it took place on January 24.The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  uses the information for funding vital services.   The effort is coordinated through the  Northern Santa Barbara County United Way Home for Good.

For weeks volunteers to help have been sought and trained.
They will be out starting at 5:30 a.m.

A year ago the largest numbers of homeless were in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria.

Researchers said the count includes 1,133 persons experiencing unsheltered homelessness and 670 persons living in emergency shelters or transitional housing. In 2017, the official PIT count was 1,860. 
 Highlights from the data include:

 • 42 percent of the unsheltered count (1,133) was persons living in their vehicles (479)

 • 115 households with 226 children under the age of 18 were literally homeless the night of the count (this does not include families doubled up, paying for a motel or at-risk of homelessness) 

• 423 persons were experiencing chronic homelessness, an increase of 87 percent (226) from 2017 

Home for Good recruited more than 500 volunteers to assist, including 449 people who showed up at 5 a.m. to canvas 89 census tracts across the county. 

The homeless population was distributed throughout the county:

1,074 (60%) persons in south county,

475 (26%) persons in north county and 254 (14%) in mid-county. 

The survey included questions regarding last permanent residence and how long a person had lived in the county. 

76 percent became homeless while living in Santa Barbara County.

60 percent have lived in Santa Barbara County for more than 10 years or the majority of their lives .

Tuesday some of the homeless in Santa Barbara were contacted by NewsChannel 3 to see if they would be participating in the count.

Tyrone Clary said, "if people need it sure."  He tries to keep a low profile however. "Me I kind of stay away from it.  I got my reasons."

Steve Gershenberg has lived in his car, "just for three years now. Camping and traveling  and trying to keep moving.  I don't want to be seen in the same place too long. I got a motor home,  a mini motorhome,   it's pretty good but the rent is a little high -  gas, car payments,  insurance and so on."

One man who was cautious about information, Rick Moore said, "give me a few bucks and I will tell you!"   

Article Topic Follows: Local Politics
point in time
Santa Barbara
santa barbara county

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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