FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — For years there have been efforts to reduce the number of people living on the streets across California and the United States.
In Fresno, Mayor Jerry Dyer says there has been some progress but there’s still a long way to go.
“The challenge we face is we’re in a housing crisis. We’re in an affordable housing crisis. We do not have enough housing for the people out there that need housing,” explained Mayor Dyer.
The mayor is fresh off a trip from Washington DC, where the city secured more money to help with affordable housing.
As the Fresno-Madera Continuum of Care program conducts its annual point-in-time survey this week, the City of Fresno is about to receive $11 million from the federal government to be spent on housing development.
“We do have an infusion of dollars, we have to spend it wisely. We have strategies in place. We’re going to continue to acquire some motels so that we can use them for emergency shelters,” said Mayor Dyer.
A lot of that funding is based on what the point-in-time survey teams find.
Last year, data from HUD showed Fresno had 2,216 unsheltered households.
HUD considers a household a group of people or families who live together.
Compare that to 2020, when there were 2,431 unsheltered households.
“I think the governor has said it best, that you don’t have to look much further than Fresno to see how we have been able to house our homeless population,” Mayor Dyer said.
The numbers do show a significant rise in those in emergency shelters.
In 2020, there were 534 households in emergency shelters.
In 2022, that number went up to 1,173.
Mayor Dyer says there’s still significant work to do to address some other issues among the unhoused population.
The HUD data shows the number of severely mentally ill people living on the streets did go down from 1,001 in 2020 to 405 in 2022.
The number of veterans experiencing homelessness has also gone down from 282 in 2020, to 99 in 2022.
However, there was an increase in those reporting chronic substance abuse, with 367 in 2022. That number is up from 257 in 2020.
Dyer says there’s still significant work to do to address some other issues among the unhoused population.
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