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Santa Ana homelessness increases in 2024, but sees 19% decline over five years

Posted on May 9, 2024

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SANTA ANA, Calif. – The number of unhoused individuals in Santa Ana increased in 2024 from 2022, according to the County of Orange Point in Time Count released this week, but over a five-year period the number declined by over 19%.

“These results are disappointing, given that Santa Ana leads Orange County in addressing homelessness, runs the largest City-operated shelter in the county and is also home to the County’s largest homeless shelter,” Mayor Valerie Amezcua said. “The City of Santa Ana will continue to make fighting homelessness and improving the quality of life of all Santa Ana residents its top priority.”

The City has committed hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to address homelessness, including:

  • A 200-plus bed homeless navigation center
  • A homeless outreach team that’s on the streets seven days a week
  • Over $60 million in affordable housing investments over the past decade, creating over 1,000 new units
  • Completing 267 units of permanent supportive housing since 2018 for formerly homeless individuals, with 221 currently in progress

However, housing and shelters are not enough to solve this crisis. City officials plan to contact State and County representatives to urge them to direct more homelessness funding to Santa Ana, and to better address mental health and drug addiction, which are often the root causes of homelessness.

The City of Santa Ana is constantly working to improve its response to homelessness and to find new and innovative approaches to address this critical issue.

According to the Point in Time Count, over the two-year period from 2022 to 2024, the number of unhoused individuals counted in Santa Ana increased by 44.2%, from 990 to 1,428, with an increase in the unsheltered homeless population of 71.46% from 508 to 871 in 2024. The County of Orange and City of Santa Ana Homeless Services Division believe that the lower 2022 numbers may have been the result of COVID-19 pandemic emergency housing measures, including an eviction moratorium.

However, during the five-year period from 2019 to 2024, Santa Ana saw a greater decline in homelessness than all other Orange County cities combined, reducing the number of unhoused individuals by over 19% from pre-pandemic levels, according to the County of Orange’s 2024 Point in Time Count released this week.

While many other Orange County cities had increases in their homeless populations between 2019 and 2024, the number of unhoused individuals in Santa Ana declined by 341, from 1,769 to 1,428. Among Orange County cities that saw a drop in homelessness during that period, Santa Ana’s decline was more than all others put together. From 2019 to 2024, homelessness increased 7% in Orange County and 20% in California.

Learn more about the City’s efforts on our Homeless Services Data Dashboard.

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