Homeless Population Rises In Santa Cruz Co., Decreases In Santa Clara Co.

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The most recent homeless count is a mixed bag in the South Bay and Santa Cruz areas. The number of people without homes is down in Santa Clara County, but spiked sharply in Santa Cruz County.

Experts say the results of the most recent homeless count are unfortunately not surprising. Peter Connery, Vice President of Applied Survey Research said though that what is surprising is the numbers are up 22 percent in two years, to a total of 2,771 people. The two main factors seem to be the economy, and the lack of affordable housing in the area.

”Santa Cruz doesn’t really have the room to expand like some other larger counties in the state,” said Connery.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

There was a 40 percent increase in homeless people under the age of 25.

Betsy Clark who works with the county emergency shelter said contrary to popular opinion most of the homeless youth are from the area.

”There are some travelers, but I know from going to meetings around the state that all communities think that,” said Clark. “Especially coastal communities think that they’re getting our homeless.”

Meanwhile in Santa Clara County, there was a slight decrease in the homeless population, now estimated at just over 7,000 individuals.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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