Subscribe

Who makes up Sonoma County’s homeless population?

The Santa Rosa City Council talked Tuesday about expanding safe overnight parking options for homeless people living in their vehicles.

At last count, more than 2,700 people were homeless in Sonoma County.

The Sonoma County Homeless Census & Survey 2020 sheds some light on this population. The information is based on a point-in-time count conducted on Feb. 28, 2020, and responses to a survey taken by 444 homeless people in the weeks that followed.

Here is a breakdown of Sonoma County’s homeless:

Homeless residents in Sonoma County: 2,745 (down from latest peak of 2,996 in 2018 following the 2017 firestorm)

Share who lived in the area before they became homeless: 88% (and nearly two-thirds of those who were homeless last year have lived here 10 years)

Main drivers of local homelessness: Lost job (22%); alcohol or drug abuse (16%); domestic dispute (15%); fire (10%)

Share of the homeless population that regularly are without shelter: 62%

Top obstacles to permanent housing for the homeless population: Can’t afford rent (70%); no job/not enough income (50%); no money for moving costs (31%); no housing available (20%)

Share of local homeless residents with a disabling condition: 40% (defined by the federal government as a developmental disability, HIV/AIDS, or a long-term physical or mental impairment that affects ability to live independently)

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette