(Photo by Toby Wong/Unsplash)

There were at least 2,295 homeless residents of Contra Costa County one day in January and most of them are unsheltered, according to data from Contra Costa Health Services’ 2019 Point in Time count.

Each year volunteers and county staff canvas known encampments and other areas frequented by the homeless community over a 24-hour period to conduct surveys and gather information for planning purposes.

This year the homeless population grew slightly, by about 3 percent, but since 2017, the number is up 43 percent, the same as in Alameda County.

Homelessness in San Francisco jumped 17 percent from 2017. In San Jose, homelessness was up 42 percent since 2017 and in Santa Clara County 31 percent.

There were 1,627 unsheltered homeless in Contra Costa County on Jan. 29. Roughly 60 percent of them were sleeping in encampments, in parks or on sidewalks. Just over 30 percent were living in vehicles.

Roughly 10 percent of the unsheltered homeless had gone either to a warming shelter or sought refuge in an abandoned building, attic or garage.

Almost all of them were single adults. Three percent or 37 were families experiencing homelessness together.

Of the 668 sheltered homeless counted on Jan. 29, 11 percent, or 62 of them, were families. The county’s limited shelter space can accommodate roughly 63 percent of the homeless families in Contra Costa, but for single adults there is a vast unmet need.

Only 28 percent of them can be served with the county’s existing inventory of shelter beds.

The number of homeless veterans has increased 14 percent over last year’s count to 114, although the number of homeless seniors 62 and older decreased 18 percent to 161.

Geographically, Contra Costa County’s homeless population is evenly distributed, with 32 percent in west county, 38 percent in central county and 30 percent in east county.

The county has prepared a two-page flyer with this information and more available online at https://twitter.com/CoCoHealth/status/1130529471260495872. They’re planning to release a more detailed report in June.