The number of individuals experiencing homelessness in Nevada County decreased slightly in 2018 compared to the previous year, according to County results from the annual point-in-time count published today by the Homeless Resource Council of the Sierras (HRCS). HRCS is the lead agency in the region's Homeless Continuum of Care, composed of numerous local government and nonprofit agency partners.
A total of 272 individuals experiencing homelessness were counted across the County, from Grass Valley to the Town of Truckee. The count, the first conducted since the Board of Supervisors established homelessness as one of its top priorities, surveyed both unsheltered and sheltered individuals and was conducted by volunteers and County staff on the night of January 24th, 2018. By comparison, 371 individuals experiencing homelessness were identified in the 2017 count.
Of the adults who responded to detailed survey questions, 44 percent were chronically homeless. 35 percent reported having a serious mental illness, and 22 percent had a substance use disorder. Furthermore, 66 percent stay in Nevada County because they are originally from the area or want to be close to family, and 54 percent of survey respondents lived in Nevada County for five years or longer prior to becoming homeless.
Over the past year, Nevada County and community partners like Hospitality House, Community Beyond Violence, Sierra Roots, 211 Connecting Point, SPIRIT Center and Salvation Army have made great strides increasing housing opportunities and outcomes for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Other drivers of the decline include an increase in local case management services, lowering unemployment rates at 3.9 percent, an expansion of beds, and an increase in collaboration and communication between community partners.
It’s important to note that despite the decline, point-in-time counts are not a comprehensive measure of an area's homeless population, but rather snapshots from a single day that can be used to approximate broad trends. Typically, they are viewed as undercounts for a community's yearly overall homeless population because many people may move in and out of homelessness throughout the year.
For more information on the 2018 PIT Results, visit Nevada County’s Better Together website.