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.
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%.
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.
Data Sources and Notes
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.