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Numbers of Homeless People


California has the highest poverty rate in the country.


134,000 people are homeless every night in California.

Arturo Baiorcchi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Social Work, California State University, Sacramento


There are between 5,000-7,500 people experiencing homelessness every night in Sacramento County.

Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness


1 in 4 children in Sacramento County live in poverty.

Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness


The mortality rate is 4 to 9 times higher for people that are homeless compared to the general public.  

Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness


There are over 12,000 homeless students -- preschool to 12th grade -- who are homeless in Sacramento County.

Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness



The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 40,056 veterans are homeless on any given night.

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans


The majority of homeless people are homeless in the familiar areas where they grew up and where they have ties to that community.


One-Fifth of all Homeless Youth are Victims of Human Trafficking.




Lack of financial resources and inability to pay for rent is the primary reason people find themselves homeless.

Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness


“Current vacancy for low-income housing is 2% in Sacramento County . . .

There are 70,000 on the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) list, waiting to get their rent subsidized to only 30% of their gross monthly income . . .The list is currently closed.”

Angela Jones, Public Information Officer,

Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency


More than half of renters in California are cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent.


“Sacramento is roughly 2000 shelter beds short every night, leaving many people sleeping on the streets.”

Kimberley Church, Sacramento Safe Space, Director, and Sacramento City Homeless Advocate Students


12.6 % of California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) students report that they are homeless.

CSUS Office of the University registrar

President Nelsen, CSUS,-homelessness-still-problem.shtml


16.7% of CSUS students report that they are food insecure.

Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness,-homelessness-still-problem.shtml


People who are food insecure are disproportionately affected and susceptible to chronic disease.

Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness


Mental Illness


“45% of homeless people in Sacramento County are homeless because of an untreated mental illness.”

Bob Erlenbusch, Executive Director,

Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness


The prevalence of severe mental illness among an individual experiencing chronic homelessness ranges from 33% to more than 50%.


“Every homeless person I work with has some degree of anxiety and depression. Many suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

Amanda Buccina, Wellspace Health, street nurse


There is one psychiatric bed per 5,922 people in the state of California.


“Sacramento County serves 25,000-30,000 people a year in outpatient mental health services. 10-15% of those people identify as homeless. “

Dawn Williams, Behavioral Health Services, Sacramento County


“There is little mental health care follow up after a homeless person is treated in the hospital emergency room. There are not enough mental health services to refer to when someone is discharged from the ER.”

Samuel Murray, MD, UC Davis Medical Center psychiatrist and former emergency room staff resident

Domestic Violence


Domestic violence is a primary cause of homelessness for women and families.


“Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for families”

Lisa Culp, Executive Director, Women’s Empowerment, Sacramento


Among mothers with children experiencing homelessness, more than 80% had previously experienced domestic violence. Aratani, Y. (2009). Homeless Children and Youth, Causes and Consequences visit disclaimer page. New York, NY: National Center for Children in Poverty.

92% of a racially diverse sample of homeless mothers reported experiencing severe physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Browne, A., & Bassuk, S. S. (1997). Intimate violence in the lives of homeless and poor housed women: prevalence and patterns in an ethnically diverse sample. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 67, 261-278.


The National Network to End Domestic Violence reports that more than 90 percent of women who are homeless have experienced severe physical or sexual abuse at some point in their lives.

Uchegbu, Amaku. “Homeless Women Find Sexual Violence Part of Life on the Street.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 17 Aug. 2015.


Drug and Alcohol Dependence


12.6% of the homeless become homeless due to drug and alcohol dependence, and over 90% of the chronically homeless (4 plus episodes of homelessness in the past 3 years) report drug and alcohol abuse or dependence.         

Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness          


“Homeless people have to wait weeks to months to get accepted to government subsidized residential drug and alcohol treatment. Cost of private residential substance dependence treatment ranges from $5,000 - $30,000 or more for 30 day inpatient residential treatment.”

Amanda Buccina, Wellspace Health, street nurse


“In my estimation, 85% of the chronically homeless have issues with substance dependence. 95% of them have substance dependency in their personal history.”

Mark Sawyer, Homeless Services and Program Coordinator, West Sacramento Police Department 





7% of youth in the United States are LGBTQ, while 40% of youth experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ.

LGBTQ individuals are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers.


“It consumes every second of every day to stay alive when you are homeless. Eating, sleeping, and safety are your only concerns. Being transgender and homeless is like a double whammy. A lot of services didn’t cater to me identifying as male and being in women’s facilities. I was treated like an “other.” I wasn’t safe there. I couldn’t trust anyone. Suicide or assault was only inches away at all times.”

Liam, Transgender, homeless for 12 years.


Foster Care Youth


20% to 30% of homeless individuals have interacted with the child welfare system and/or graduated from the Foster Care system. More than one-half (56%) of former foster youth have a mental health disorder.


Each year an estimated 20,000 18 years olds age out of  the U.S. foster care system. Compared to other youth in the United States, kids who age out of foster care are more likely to not have completed high school or received a GED, they often suffer from mental health problems, many are unemployed and live in poverty, and nearly 40% become homeless.




$5.822 billion is spent in the United States per year for programs to house and care for the homeless.

Christopher Weare, Sacramento Steps Forward, Data Analytics and Research Manager


Sacramento County spends 40 million a year on homelessness.

Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness


Close to 70% of the Sacramento county fund for homelessness is spent on law enforcement of the homeless.

Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness


Sacramento City has 7 full time police officers that work exclusively with the homeless.

Sergeant Greg Galliano, Impact Team. Sacramento Police Department


Hospital Emergency Room Service


"Nearly one-third of all visits to the emergency room are made by people struggling with chronic homelessness. 

Emergency departments are not equipped to meet the psychosocial needs of homeless community members and do not have the capacity to assist them with housing, substance abuse treatment, and mental health care. People struggling with homelessness are often frequent users of emergency departments. On average, they visit the emergency room five times per year. The highest users of emergency departments visit weekly. Each visit costs $3,700; that's $18,500 spent per year for the average person and $44,400 spent per year for the highest users of emergency departments."


The top 250 "persistently homeless" people cost the city and county of Sacramento over $11 million a year in behavioral health care, jail, ambulance rides and police services.


Prison: Numbers and Cost


Approximately 29% of all male inmates and 37 % of female inmates receive some form of mental health services in the state of California.

Bill Sessa, Communications, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation


Over 30 percent of California prisoners currently receive treatment for a “serious mental disorder,” an increase of 150 percent since 2000.            

Stanford Justice Advocacy Project                                                             


It costs an average of about $71,000 per year to incarcerate an inmate in prison in California.


The County Jail has an average of 2400 inmates a day.

It costs $126.06 per day to house an inmate at the Sacramento County Main Jail and $114.67 per bed at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center.

Sacramento County Grand Jury Report, 2017-2018 Final Report

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department

Incarceration and homelessness are mutual risk factors for each other. 25-50% of the homeless population has a history of incarceration.                              

In Focus, Incarceration and Homelessness: A Revolving Door of Risk. A quarterly Research Review of the National HCH Council; 2013; Vol 2: Issue 2

SSI Disability

“Many chronically homeless people get monthly disability payments for reasons of medical and/or psychiatric conditions that have lasted for 12 months or longer or anticipated to death. The highest SSI payment for one individual with no dependents in CA is $982.04 a month.”                                      

Eric Phillips, Social Security Administration, Sacramento main office

The federal poverty line for one individual with no dependents in CA is $1,005.00 a month.

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