Santa Clara County homeless population up 31 percent, San Jose jumps 42 percent since 2017

Image 1 of 2

The population of homeless people jumped about 31 percent in Santa Clara County and 42 percent in San Jose over the last two years, according to preliminary results from January's point-in-time homeless count released Thursday.

The count reveals 9,706 homeless people in the county, of which 6,172 are in San Jose. That aligns with predictions by residents and homeless advocates who have grappled with growing homeless encampments and crowded lotteries for affordable housing developments.

"Despite our collective efforts to house more than 6,900 homeless neighbors in the last three years, for every person we bring in from the cold, the economy pushes three more out the door," Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a news release.

Liccardo unveiled a proposal Wednesday to create subsidies for accessory dwelling units in an effort to fast-track the supply of affordable housing, part of a series of efforts from the city and county to tackle the housing crisis from multiple angles.

The county has also committed $234 million toward 1,437 affordable apartments for homeless people, but the buildings have been slow to emerge.

The county's efforts are supported by the voter-approved Measure A in 2016, which is expected to create a total $950 million for affordable housing in the region.

The homeless census results show slight variations in populations by group.

Homeless families have dropped from 1075 to 921 in the county, and from 340 to 313 in San Jose since 2017.

Homeless veterans dropped by a handful from 660 to 653 in the county, but rose from 468 to 476 in San Jose.

"Now is the time to redouble our efforts to solve this crisis," Jennifer Loving, CEO of Destination: Home, said in a news release.

"The solutions are right here in front of us -- we just need to mobilize the collective will and resources to scale our proven strategies and meet the enormous need in our community. Bottom line: homelessness is solvable."