Omicron Delays Homeless Counts Across California

Counties across California are delaying the annual point-in-time homeless census due to the rapidly spreading omicron variant. It’s the second time, as most counties canceled the 2021 count during the COVID-19 surge last year.

Alameda; Contra Costa; Santa Clara; San Francisco; San Mateo; Sacramento; Los Angeles; San Diego; and Riverside are among those delaying the count by at least a month.

“While we work to ensure an accurate homeless count, we cannot ignore the surging number of positive COVID-19 cases across our region,” said Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Executive Director Heidi Marston. “Even with safety precautions such as moving training online, developing outdoor deployment sites, and keeping households together, moving forward with a count in January places our unhoused neighbors, volunteers, staff, and the accuracy of the count at risk.”

The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires a point-in-time count of sheltered people experiencing homelessness each year and a count of unsheltered people every other year. The pandemic has disrupted the process for two years in a row.

As of Tuesday, California had a daily average of 110,497 coronavirus cases or 272.4 cases for every 100,000 people. The state's positivity rate is 21.5%.