Homeless Population

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Every two years, communities across the country conduct comprehensive counts of their homeless populations in order to measure the prevalence of homelessness in each community. These biennial Point-in-Time homeless counts are required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of all jurisdictions receiving federal Homeless Assistance Grant funding to provide housing and services for homeless individuals and families. San Francisco Continuum of Care currently receives more than $20 million in federal funding, a key resource for the county’s homeless services. San Francisco’s 2015 point‐in‐time count, conducted by Applied Survey Research, included a complete enumeration of all unsheltered and publicly sheltered homeless persons. The biennial point-in-time counts are the primary source of nationwide data on sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons and help communities and the federal government better understand the nature of homelessness locally and nationwide.



How San Francisco is Performing

The number of individuals counted in the 2015 general street and shelter count was 6,686. Compared to 2013, this was an increase of 250 individuals. In 2013 and 2015, San Francisco conducted a supplemental youth count on the same date as the general homeless count. Conducted in areas where youth tend to congregate by homeless youth peers, the youth count is intended to improve the quality of data on this subgroup. In 2015, the supplemental youth count found 853 unaccompanied children and transitional-age-youth over and above the general street count, a decrease of 61 youths counted in 2013.

When the youth count and general count are combined, the total number of unsheltered and sheltered persons in San Francisco on January 29, 2015, was 7,539. This combined count shows a 2 percent increase of 189 homeless individuals since 2013.

A ten-year trend of comparable point-in-time data from general count efforts (excluding the targeted youth count) identified a 7 percent increase in the number of persons experiencing homelessness in San Francisco between 2005 and 2015.

How Performance is Measured

The federal definition for homelessness point-in time counts includes those individuals and families living in a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter, or those with a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for regular sleeping accommodations such as cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, airport, or camping grounds.

The general street count was conducted on January 29, 2015, from approximately 8PM to midnight and covered all 47 square miles of San Francisco. The shelter count was conducted on the same evening and included all individuals staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing facilities, domestic violence shelters, jails, hospitals and treatment facilities.

The number displayed on the scorecard page represents the annual count from 2015 in the chart above.

Additional Information

Read the Point-in-Time Homeless Count Reports.


Please click first on the chart above and then click the “Download” button in the bottom right corner of the visualization to view and download the data displayed in the chart.