As Sacramento County's homeless population falls, Elk Grove's count almost doubles

The Sacramento County homeless point-in-time count conducted by Sacramento Steps Forward in January revealed good news for the county's homeless population. Likewise, the news for Elk Grove was not as encouraging.

According to the data compiled and released this week, Sacramento County's homeless population decreased by 29 percent. The report summary states, "6,615 people were estimated to be experiencing homelessness during the 2024 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, a 28.7 percent decrease from the 2022 PIT Count."

Of those individuals,  2,671, or 40.4 percent, had temporary shelter, and 3,944 did not. In 2022, there were 9,278 homeless, of which 28.2 percent had access to shelters.

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The count was conducted in Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, and Rancho Cordova. 

Commenting on the countywide reduction, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said it was too early to declare victory. Nonetheless, he said the results were encouraging. 

"The 41 percent reduction in unsheltered homelessness is dramatic and affirms that the steady course we set seven years ago to address this state and national crisis is working," Steinberg said.

While the overall county population dropped, Elk Grove's actual homeless population almost doubled. Elk Grove, which accounts for about two percent of the county's unhoused population, saw its point-in-time population jump from 45 in 2022 to 83 in 2024.

Elk Grove's housing manager, Sarah Bontrager, attributed the almost doubling of the population to undercounts in the past. Bontrager said she and city staff had estimated Elk Grove's unhoused population to be between 100 and 150. 

"We think that enhanced mapping and survey methods used for the count this year may have provided a more accurate representation of our unhoused community," Bontrager said in a press statement today.

Last year, Elk Grove opened its first semi-permanent shelter at a city-owned facility on Elk Grove Boulevard and Waterman Road. The facility operated between November 2023 through April 30 this year. 

Comments from the Elk Grove City Council and staff during the May 22 meeting indicated that the city is seeking a permanent year-round shelter. 

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1 comment

Peter Peachfuzz said...

What irks me is... I saw somewhere where our mayor and city council were applauding the efforts thus far of being only 2 percent of the total population, and how even though the number of homeless people doubled on paper in EG, it is still applaudworthy since the number is what they thought was more accurate.

In the true sake of "regionalism," there is nothing to applaud for the sake of homelessness. We have people living on the streets all throughout California. It is an absolute crisis. And make no mistake, even if the homeless population has decreased slightly according to this report, the problem will grow bigger before any real resolution will come. I doubt it will be in my lifetime.

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