People Served through California's Homelessness Response System

Explore how California has responded to the homelessness crisis and how many people got help.

Using data submitted from California’s Continuums of Care (CoCs), HDIS captures a year-long count of people experiencing homelessness who have accessed services such as emergency shelter, transitional housing, and other services to assess, triage, and refer to services from local homelessness response systems.

In 2020, local providers reported serving 248,130 people experiencing homelessness. Since 2017, CoCs across California have increased the number of people they serve by 39%, indicating increasing efforts by state and local systems to address the homelessness crisis.

Subpopulations of Californians Experiencing Homelessness who Accessed Services

Homelessness services that are tailored specifically for adult individuals, families, youth, and other subpopulations are necessary to provide the right kinds of housing support. Understanding the diversity of people seeking services while experiencing homelessness is critical to better targeting those supports.

2020 Subpopulation Insights from HDIS:

  • 160,238 people were adults living alone or in the company of other adults (referred to as Individuals).
  • 84,710 were people in families with children.

Among the total number of people experiencing homelessness who were served across California in 2020, a total of 24,690 were unaccompanied youth.

Interactive Statewide and CoC level Data

To learn more about the demographics of people served, click here.

Data Sources and Notes

Note: Unaccompanied youth can also be counted in the Individuals and Families categories and therefore should not be summed with those categories.

Homeless Data Integration System (HDIS). HDIS includes Federally-required data collected from all service providers that participate in CoCs’ local Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS). However, not all providers participate in HMIS. Independent providers that do not receive Federal funding or certain State funding can opt out of participation in local HMIS. Dedicated domestic violence victim service providers are barred by Federal law from entering their clients’ data into HMIS and maintain separate data systems. Some permanent housing programs for veterans are also captured in a separate data system from HMIS. Additionally, not all people experiencing homelessness are captured in HDIS. People experiencing homelessness who do not access services are not captured in local HMIS or HDIS. Certain unaccompanied youth providers may not be allowed to share complete client data with HDIS.

In this release, 42 of California’s 44 CoCs submitted data to HDIS. San Mateo County CoC and Yuba/Sutter Counties CoC did not submit data in time to be included.