The Hard Facts of Homelessness

  • 15,000 Contra Costa County residents experience homelessness each year and the homeless population is growing as recession continues
  • 5,000 in the County sleep on streets, in vehicles, or temporarily in shelters or homes of relatives or friends
  • 47% of the County’s homeless are in West County
  • The homeless suffer higher rates of domestic and criminal violence, HIV and AIDS, physical disabilities, and early death
  • At least one-third of homeless persons have mental health problems, often compounded by substance abuse problems
  • Despite very low income, more than 75% of homeless persons have a high school diploma or GED and many have college, university, and advanced degrees
  • More than 15% of homeless persons are employed by others and many have their own legal, income-generating enterprises
  • Cost to taxpayers is high: 20% of homeless are jailed at least once per year and many use expensive public emergency services or are hospitalized at public expense