The surge in the Omicron variant is forcing California counties to put off their annual count of people experiencing homelessness, including in Sacramento County.
Sacramento Steps Forward (SFF), the organization that conducts the count, originally planned for dates Jan. 26 - Jan 27, but now say the count will now be held February 23rd - 24th. Other counties across California like Stanislaus, Santa Clara, Alameda and Los Angeles have also requested to reschedule. “Out of concern for the safety of our unhoused residents, volunteers and staff, moving the PIT count to Feb. 23-24 is a prudent approach,” Lisa Bates, chief executive officer for SSF, said in a press release. “Getting a full and accurate count is absolutely critical to us in determining effective responses as well as the level of future state and federal resources needed.” Following the trend of the surges, the data will most likely be released by this coming summer.
Previous data from the count indicate a 19% increase in city homelessness compared to figures in 2017, with homeless tents in the city nearly doubling since a count in 2019. Over 5,500 people are expected to be experiencing homelessness on any given night in Sacramento county according to previous data.