Acting to Prevent, Reduce and End Homelessness

The California Interagency Council on Homelessness’ Statewide Action Plan pursues a vision for the Council and state’s work to prevent and end homelessness focused on purposeful, action-oriented coordination and alignment among state departments. By providing data that allows California to measure progress towards the goal of preventing and ending homelessness, the Homeless Data Integration System (HDIS) plays a pivotal role in the state’s comprehensive strategy to get more Californians into affordable, stable living environments and to connect them with the supportive services they need to succeed.

California’s Homelessness Response System Acts to Serve those in Need

In 2022 (the most recent full year of data), CoCs across California have provided housing and services to 315,847 individuals experiencing homelessness.

Subpopulations of Californians Experiencing Homelessness who Accessed Services

Homelessness services that are tailored specifically for adult individuals, families, youth, and other subpopulations are necessary to provide the right kinds of housing support.

In 2022 (the most recent full year of data), of those who experienced homelessness and accessed services in California:

  • 203,816 people were adults living alone or in the company of other adults (referred to as individuals).
  • 106,646 were people in families with children.

Within those subpopulations, there were 28,428 unaccompanied youth (up to age 24) who experienced homelessness and accessed services in California during 2022.

We have an opportunity to act to address homelessness with an equitable approach.

Racial inequities and homelessness are inextricably linked. The number of people experiencing homelessness does not mirror the racial makeup of the state’s general population. Black or African American people in California are overrepresented in homelessness--representing 5% of the state’s population but 28% of those accessing homelessness services in 2021. The share of Black or African American people experiencing homelessness as well as the share American Indian, Alaska Native, or Indigenous people experiencing homelessness was five times greater than their respective share of the state’s overall population according to the Point-in-Time (PIT) count. California is committed to tackling racial disparities in homelessness through the implementation of Cal ICH’s Action Plan for Preventing and Ending Homelessness in California.

Reliable data about the demographic characteristics of people being served allows state and local governments to target resources to meet the diverse needs of people experiencing homelessness and evaluate if these efforts are effective.

People Access Homelessness Services Locally

Data from HDIS shows that over a three-year timespan, very few people experienced homelessness in more than one California CoC. Of the people who did access services in multiple jurisdictions, most did so in adjacent or neighboring CoCs, suggesting homelessness within California is not a problem of migration. Among the records analyzed in HDIS:

Research Leveraging HDIS Data

Research using HDIS data enables policy makers, local stakeholders, and the public to better understand the state’s homelessness response system. The following research briefs are part of a series looking at how homelessness services, shelter, and housing programs are meeting the needs of different populations in California, including the types of programs each population accessed and their outcomes at the end of the three-year report period.

The fact sheets provide a snapshot of how the following populations are served by programs that report in HDIS:

This series is a collaboration between the California Interagency Council on Homelessness; the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley; the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative at the University of California, San Francisco; and Abt Associates.

The HDIS is a statewide data warehouse of data from the 44 local homelessness response systems in California

HDIS compiles and processes data from all 44 California Continuums of Care (CoC)—regional homelessness service coordination and planning bodies—into a statewide data warehouse. Each CoC collects data about the people it serves through its programs, such as homelessness prevention services, street outreach services, permanent housing interventions and a range of other strategies aligned with California’s Housing First objectives.

(1) Services are entered by local entities providing prevention, outreach, emergency sheltering, rapid rehousing, and other permanent housing , and other services. (2) Cal ICH collects data on a quarterly basis by working with CoCs.(3) Once ingested into HDIS, data is standardized, cleansed, de-duplicated, and matched, which makes the data much more accurate when looking at statewide figures.

Process:

  1. Services are entered by local entities providing prevention, outreach, emergency sheltering, rapid rehousing, and other permanent housing , and other services.
  2. Cal ICH collects data on a quarterly basis by working with CoCs.
  3. Once ingested into HDIS, data is standardized, cleansed, de-duplicated, and matched, which makes the data much more accurate when looking at statewide figures.

For more information about how HDIS was built, for the release notes, or to submit an inquiry, check out HDIS Development and Inquiries

The Demographic Data is available for download from People Receiving Homeless Response Services by Age, Race, Ethnicity, and Gender - Datasets - California Open Data

Are you experiencing homelessness and need assistance? Check out Continuum of Care Points of Contact.

If you have questions, please contact HDIS@bcsh.ca.gov.

HDIS is administered by the California Interagency Council on Homelessness, which is housed within the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH).

Data Sources and Notes

Note: Unaccompanied youth can also be counted in the Individuals and Families categories and therefore should not be summed with those categories.

Definition of Experiencing Homelessness: People are considered to be “experiencing homelessness” at any point in the selected time frame if they: 1) accessed lodging services through Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, and/or Safe Haven projects: 2) entered into a permanent housing project from homelessness (i.e., Permanent Supportive Housing, Housing Only, Housing with Services, Rapid Re-Housing); or 3) reported living in a homeless situation (e.g., they are living in a place not meant for habitation, such as a vehicle) at the time they accessed other services. This is an expanded version of the definition employed by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). When determining the number of people experiencing homelessness in the homelessness response system for the Annual Point-in-Time Count, HUD only counts people accessing Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, and/or Safe Haven services.

Homeless Data Integration System (HDIS): HDIS includes Federally-required data collected from all service providers that participate in CoCs’ local Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS). However, not all providers participate in HMIS. Independent providers that do not receive Federal funding or certain State funding can opt out of participation in local HMIS. Dedicated domestic violence victim service providers are barred by Federal law from entering their clients’ data into HMIS and maintain separate data systems. Some permanent housing programs for veterans are also captured in a separate data system from HMIS. Additionally, not all people experiencing homelessness are captured in HDIS. People experiencing homelessness who do not access services are not captured in local HMIS or HDIS. Certain unaccompanied youth providers may not be allowed to share complete client data with HDIS. HDIS cannot determine which people in Yuba/Sutter CoC were experiencing homelessness due to incomplete data. Therefore, Yuba/Sutter CoC does not appear in the CoC drop-down menus nor in the total numbers in any visualizations on this website.

During 2023 tribal engagements and tribal consultations, California Tribal Partners have shared that the actual instances of homelessness among American Indian, Alaska Native, and Indigenous people are higher than the point-in-time count for various reasons.