Services

Explore the range of services that California’s Homelessness Response System provided in 2020.

Using data submitted from California’s Continuums of Care (CoCs), HDIS captures year over year trends in the number of people experiencing homelessness who have accessed different services from local homelessness response systems, and housing outcomes for those individuals.

While permanent housing is the only true solution to homelessness, California’s homelessness response system is made up of numerous services ranging from prevention, crisis response, health and other supports which protect the thousands of Californians experiencing homelessness right now who are facing urgent and dangerous crises every single day.

The Increased Emphasis on Homelessness Prevention

Preventing new and repeated homelessness relies on effective interventions that help people avoid homelessness and efficient interventions that serve individuals who would otherwise experience homelessness without the assistance.

Homelessness prevention assistance includes services as well as short-term financial support. Prevention resources have expanded in recent years, and saved lives in 2020 by reducing the number of people seeking shelter during a global pandemic.

Bar chart showing the number of people serves through Homeless Prevention Services has more than doubled since 2017. Number of People Served: 2017 13,901 - 2018 19,035 - 2019 24,646 - 2020 32,189. Source: CA Homeless Data Integration System based on data collected by California Continuums of Care between January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2020. https://www.bcsh.ca.gov/hcfc/hdis.html

Crisis Response Services Provided Lifesaving Resources in 2020

The first point of contact for many Californians who experience homelessness is through crisis response services including street outreach, emergency shelters, and other forms of sheltering intended to quickly provide shelter.

Project Roomkey and other life-saving crisis response efforts taken as a result of the pandemic are clear: in 2020, people served through street outreach increased by 13% and people accessing emergency shelter increased by 12%.

Local Providers responded to the COVID-19 Pandemic through increasing Street Outreach and in Emergency Shelters in 2020. 127,994 People Served through Street Outreach - 13% increase compared to prior year. 118,499 People Served through Emergency Shelters - 12% increase compared to prior year. Source: CA Homeless Data Integration System based on data collected by California Continuums of Care between January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2020. https://www.bcsh.ca.gov/hcfc/hdis.html

Navigating the System as a Person Experiencing Homelessness

Housing is a necessary foundation for stability and safety, enabling individuals to achieve other longer-term aspirations. Meaningful reductions in homelessness requires California to continue to identify and quickly rehouse people experiencing homelessness, with a goal of all individuals having a place to call home.

Bar chart showing throughout 2020, a total of 248,130 People Experiencing Homelessness were Served Across California's 44 CoCs. Status of People Served at the end of 2020. 91,626 People Moved into Permanent Housing - 37%. 117,109 Awaiting Housing & Still Accessing Services - 47%. 39,395 No Longer Engaging in Services - 16%. Source: CA Homeless Data Integration System based on data collected by California Continuums of Care between January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2020. https://www.bcsh.ca.gov/hcfc/hdis.html

Data Sources and Notes

Definitions

Experiencing Homelessness: People are considered to be “experiencing homelessness” at any point in the selected time frame if they: 1) accessed lodging services through Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, and/or Safe Haven projects: 2) entered into a permanent housing project from homelessness (i.e., Permanent Supportive Housing, Housing Only, Housing with Services, Rapid Re-Housing); or 3) reported living in a homeless situation (e.g., they are living in a place not meant for habitation, such as a vehicle) at the time they accessed other services. This is an expanded version of the definition employed by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). When determining the number of people experiencing homelessness in the homelessness response system for the Annual Point-in-Time Count, HUD only counts people accessing Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, and/or Safe Haven services.

Homelessness Prevention: Project that offers services and/or financial assistance necessary to prevent people from becoming homeless.