According to the 2019 Santa Clara County Homeless Census and Survey (also known as the Homeless Point-in-Time Count), on any given day in Santa Clara County, approximately 9,700 people find themselves without a safe, appropriate place to stay.  When viewed over the course of a year, an even larger number of residents experience homelessness, some for only a few days and some who have been without a stable inside home for years.

Contrary to public thought, many people who are homeless experience only a one-time event, or are homeless for a short period of time. Home Not Found, a 2015 study on homelessness in Santa Clara, found that, between 2007 and 2012, about 20 percent of the population was homeless for only one month and another 32 percent were homeless for two to six months. An estimated 2,169 people in Santa Clara County are considered to be “chronically homeless,” having had long-term or repeated homelessness, coupled with a disability.

Due to the health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Homeless Point-in-Time Count was delayed to 2022. The County released preliminary data from this count in May 2022, with the full report expected later in the year. The number of unhoused community members in Santa Clara County remained relatively steady compared to 2019, with the overall number of homeless individuals counted in 2022 increasing 3% in Santa Clara County to 10,028. At the same time, the community saw a decrease in homeless individuals living outdoors, with a 3% decrease in Santa Clara County. More homeless residents were sheltered, as jurisdictions across the community have expanded interim housing and temporary shelter options by 25% in the last three years.

Graphics showing growth of homelessness in Santa Clara County

Important Information to Know

From 2020 to 2022, the County’s supportive housing system has helped 6,890 people move from homelessness to stable housing and has prevented homelessness for thousands of households. Over the first five years following passage of the 2016 Measure A Affordable Housing Bond by voters, the County of Santa Clara has committed $588 million to build and renovate nearly 4,500 units in 41 housing developments across eight cities. However, the crisis persists because thousands of residents continue to fall into homelessness each year and more are on the brink of losing their homes – a result of deep, longstanding social inequities that include rising economic inequality, federal underinvestment in safety nets, and a lack of affordable housing. What can we do?

Housing First
Our community embraces the Housing First approach to solving homelessness, focusing on providing permanent housing to individuals and families experiencing homelessness as a first priority, providing tailored services in place according to each person’s individual needs.  In recent years, an estimated 85% of all chronically homeless men and women housed through the Housing First approach remain in their new homes.

Destination: Home

Destination: Home is a public-private partnership overseeing our strategies to end homelessness in Santa Clara County, including creating permanent housing and supportive service opportunities, improving systems of care, and employing strategies that keep individuals and families from becoming homeless.  Destination: Home’s Board also serves as the HUD Continuum of Care Board for the San Jose /Santa Clara City and County Metropolitan area and works with the Santa Clara County Office of Supportive Housing as a Collaborative Applicant for federal funding.

2020-2025 Community Plan to End Homelessness

Developed by Destination: Home after convening more than 200 stakeholders in a year-long planning process, this second generation Community Plan lays out the roadmap for ending homelessness in the County. Guided by the Housing First approach, it includes three overarching strategies:

  • Address the root causes of homelessness through system and policy change
  • Expand homelessness prevention and housing programs to meet the need
  • Improve quality of life for unsheltered individuals and create healthy neighborhoods for all
2021 Regional Action Plan

In 2020, All Home established the Regional Impact Council (RIC), a nine-county effort, convened to devise a unified effort to address homelessness, establish a more prosperous region, and close racial disparities. The need to act is made more pressing by the COVID-19 pandemic. It devastated the job market and added to the population of 35,000 Bay Area residents who were already unhoused. In addition, fifty percent of extremely low income renters do not receive housing subsidies or rent protections, and 34% have controlled rents that are still unaffordable without assistance. The RIC worked to develop immediate solutions that lead with racial equity. The RIC also built solutions holding ourselves and our peers to housing standards, increasing accountability for outcomes, and targeting funding and interventions towards the most vulnerable communities.

The RIC has created this ambitious Regional Action Plan to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness by 75% in three years. In order to house and stabilize our unhoused neighbors while also initiating preventative measures, the RAP defines eight strategic priorities, some of which are already underway.

Cost of Homelessness Study

In 2015, Destination: Home and the County of Santa Clara released the report “Home Not Found: The Cost of Homelessness in Silicon Valley,” which is considered to be the largest and most comprehensive body of information that has been assembled in the United States to analyze the public costs of homelessness.  Among other findings, the study found that the County spent $520 million annually over a six-year period on services to homeless residents. The study showed that, in 2012, while the average annual cost per homeless person was $5,148, top users cost more than $100,000 per year.

Additional Resources

2019 Homeless Point-In-Time Census and Survey
2017  Homeless Point-In-Time Census and Survey
2015 Homeless Point-In-Time Census and Survey