SAN FRANCISCO─The city of San Francisco released a detailed report of its homeless population. The survey conducted by Applied Survey Research (ASR), a social research firm, explains detail about the population and its demographics.
According to their research, they found that there were 8,011 people currently experiencing homelessness as of January 24, 2019. Of those individuals, 5,180 people were unsheltered and 2,831 persons were living in shelters. Compared to 2017, the population increased by 1,153.
The district with the largest number of homeless individuals was District 6 (Tenderloin, Civic Center, Mid-Market, SOMA, Yerba Buena, Rincon Hill, South Beach, Mission Bay, Treasure Island). Counted in that region was almost 45 percent of the population.
Only 1 percent of those surveyed were under the age of 18, while 10 percent answered that they were 61 years of age or older. Reportedly, young people have a difficult time accessing help due to stigma, lack of knowledge, or lack of targeted resources. There were 201 families with children experiencing homelessness in San Francisco. Most of them resided in shelters or transitional housing programs, a service provided to assist the transition to permanent housing.
When asked for the primary cause of homelessness, almost 26 percent of individuals surveyed cited “lost job.” Other top reasons included: alcohol or drug use (18 percent) eviction (13 percent), an argument with family or friends which resulted in a request to leave (12 percent), mental health (8 percent), or relationship separation (5 percent).
More than half of the individuals indicated that they could not afford rent. The second largest reason reported for obstacles to obtaining permanent housing was no job or lack of income. Almost 50 percent, indicated having no permanent address or disability was an obstacle for finding employment.
The most common health issue amongst those included in the report was drug or alcohol use. The subsequent issue was psychiatric or emotional conditions.
According to the survey, the rising prices of housing in San Francisco and the Bay Area have outpaced inflation over the last 10 years, causing an affordability crisis. Zillow economic research found that there is a sharp increase in homelessness when 32 percent of median income can be allocated to median rent.