A Closer Look at Homelessness in California

Sheltered vs. Unsheltered: Where do we stack up?

California and New York both have comparatively high rates of homelessness per capita.* However, the two states’ homelessness crises don’t look the same. New York has more sheltered homeless people, while California has more unsheltered homeless people, making our crisis more visible.

Shelter provides important health and safety benefits, but turning California’s unsheltered homeless population into a sheltered population can’t be our ultimate goal. That’s why Mercy Housing California has focused on the solution of permanent supportive housing as our primary tool to fight homelessness.

By the Numbers

28% of all people experiencing homelessness in the United States live in California.

In California:
161,548 people are experiencing homelessness
8,030 family households are experiencing homelessness
11,401 veterans are experiencing homelessness
51,785 people are experiencing chronic homelessness
12,172 unaccompanied young adults (aged 18-24) are experiencing homelessness
40% of Californians experiencing homelessness are Black, despite the fact that people who identify as Black represent just 6% of Californians.

*2020 statistics from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and the National Alliance to End Homelessness

Permanent Supportive Housing Portfolio

At Mercy Housing California, we’ve seen firsthand how offering someone a permanent home in a healthy, supportive community can change that person’s life — but it doesn’t stop there. The benefits of permanent supportive housing (PSH) go far beyond any individual or family. We believe that our whole state is strengthened when we invest in helping as many people as possible permanently escape homelessness and get on the pathway to stability and health. Over the past 10 years, we’ve ramped up our permanent supportive housing development in Southern California, Northern California, and the Bay Area. The next five years will see our PSH portfolio expand even more dramatically. The figures shown here for “2022 and beyond” represent apartments currently in the Mercy Housing California development pipeline.

PSH Homes Built: 1,097 in 2011, 2,015 in 2021, 3,581 from 2022 and beyond