Orange County sees rise in homelessness

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. - Orange County saw a significant increase in its homeless population.

According to numbers released during the 2024 Point In Time Count, the county experienced a 28% increase in people experiencing homelessness from 2022 to 2024
and a 7% increase from 2019 to 2024.

A total of 7,322 people experiencing homelessness were counted in 2024.

According to county officials, of those individuals counted, 3,149 people were sheltered while 4,173 people were unsheltered.

Of the 7,322 homeless individuals counted, 3,227 are in the northern part of the county, 3,454 are in the central part of the county and 641 were in the southern part of the county.

Veterans accounted for 328 people in the count, and 308 were ages 18 to 24. The number of homeless seniors 62 and older amounted to 869.

RELATED: Long Beach sees first decrease in homelessness since 2017

Doug Becht, director of the county's Office of Care Coordination, pointed out that officials have been using the same methodology approved by the federal Housing and Urban Development agency, so the five-year trend provides a more helpful picture than a year-over-year comparison.

"Obviously, a 28% increase is a significant increase from 2022," Becht told City News Service.

But he said the five-year trend compares favorably to neighboring counties and the state of California, which has seen a 20% increase over that span.

"And when we compared our surrounding counties, San Diego, L.A., San Bernardino and Riverside, we're seeing their trend is 29%," Becht said.

"I would find the increase from 2022 to be encouraging in the sense that that's the worst possible take from this Point in Time report," Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do told CNS. "To have only that increase in light of all of the headwinds with COVID, with the economy and especially in relation to other large counties, I think we are ahead of our peers."

City News Service contributed to this report