Central Valley homeless numbers continue to grow

News

The Fresno Madera Continuum of Care joined Fresno Mayor Lee Brand and Fresno County Chairman Nathan Magsig to release the 2019 Point-In-Time Homeless Count.

The count shows the homeless population in both Fresno and Madera counties has grown since last year by 17-percent.

Some 2,508 people are homeless, that’s up 364 more people from the 2018 count.

Leaders say it’s going to take a collaborative effort from substance abuse, to mental health facilities, to faith based organizations, to local businesses hiring these people to solve the problem.

Westcare Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Shawn Jenkins says, “Nobody owns this problem. It’s only us together learning from each other, that are going to solve it.”

Magsig echoed a similar response.

“We are all finding ways to connect the dots all of us come together to address this problem,” says Magsig.

Unlike previous years, local leaders say $14-million from the state of California, which will be spent over the next 3 years, will help decrease the numbers.

In July of 2019, new shelters will open, including one that will hold 90 beds.

Jenkins says, “We hear it a lot, is that you have people that refuse services. My comment is when we deal with all the people who want housing, and want services, then I think its appropriate to look at the people left over. But we hadn’t even had the resources to deal with all the people who want housing.”

Leaders say the state funds will also be used to create emergency triage shelters, case management to assist homeless to navigate the system, and even added protections for landlords renting private units.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand says there is still more work to be done.
 
Brand says, “Today I’m calling on our partners at the city and throughout the entire community to once again rise to the occasion and provide help to our homeless population.”

Brand says the key to tackling the homeless problem is getting people into treatment.

Although the total of homeless did increase the number of chronic homeless who have lived on the streets for more than twelve months decreased.

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