SAN MATEO COUNTY (KCBS)— San Mateo County leaders are exploring the possible reasons why there has been a significant drop in the number of homeless people on the Peninsula. The latest count found the number of people living on the streets in the county dropped by 47 percent from 2013.
According to a count in January by the county’s Human Services Agency there’s also been a slight reduction in the number of people living in shelters or transitional housing.
Iliana Rodriguez, a director with the agency said it’s great news and shows their collective efforts are working.
County officials say one factor is the region’s strong economy.
“The unemployment rate of San Mateo County is about 3.5 percent and you’ll see all over the place; signs of ‘Help Wanted’. So people who are struggling are able to find a job and once they can have a steady income, the ability to get them housed is a lot easier,” said San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley.
However, Horsley said many of those who find jobs with large chain operations don’t tend to stay in San Mateo County.
“It is easy to get a job. People do get employed and because it’s cheaper to live in the East Bay, many of them are finding housing in the East Bay and actually transferring their jobs there as well,” Horsley said.
Horsley said last year, the county offered more than $13 million to jump start housing projects backed by non-profit agencies.
He added that the county is also contributing $6 million annually to an affordable housing fund.
The latest count showed 689 people living on the streets, in vehicles or encampments in San Mateo County.