Homeless: More Ventura County families on the brink of being without a home

June 29, 2012
Santa Paula News

Santa Paula’s homeless as well as those across the county could be joined by many more, according to recent statistics that reflect that a substantial amount of households are on the brink of being without shelter.

According to the 2012 Ventura County Homeless Count Report the county has a substantial number of households that are risk of becoming homeless. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) does not consider those persons who are “doubled up” or persons who are “near homelessness” as without a home, but HUD does consider them to be at risk of becoming homeless. Although such persons were not included in the January 24 homeless count, the report notes that the County of Ventura, like many other counties, has a substantial number of households that are at risk of becoming homeless. 

The report notes that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010 there were approximately 42,000 households consisting of about 130,000 persons (nearly one of every five residents) in Ventura County who were members of a household whose annual income was less than $25,000. There were approximately 21,000 households consisting of about 66,000 persons whose annual income was less than $15,000 a year. The Census Bureau noted that 10 percent, or nearly 76,000 residents of the County, were living below poverty level as reported in the 2010 American Community Survey. 

“The Ventura County Homeless and Housing Coalition considers these persons at risk of becoming homeless” due to “social structural issues such as increases in rent, loss of job, and rising health care costs. In addition, personal experiences such as domestic violence, physical disabilities, mental illness, and substance abuse can cause members of a low-income household or an entire household to become homeless.... Often,” the report noted, “one or more of these experiences factor into a household’s homeless experience.”

The annual report garnered Ventura County’s homeless statistics during a one-day count. Santa Paula showed an increase over last year, but the number of countywide homeless could be as much as three to four times greater.

The total number of persons counted in Santa Paula was 60, 59 adults and one child. The report noted that 35 percent of persons (21) were counted on the streets, and 65 percent of persons (39) were counted in facilities.

When it came to age, three percent of adults (two) were seniors (age 62+) and three percent (two) were youth between the ages of 18-24. There were many more homeless men than women: 71 percent of adults (42) were men and 29 percent (17) were women. Ethnicity of Santa Paula’s homeless was 64 percent of adults (38) were Hispanic or Latino, 34 percent (20) were White and two percent (one) were African American or Black.

By a wide margin those counted as homeless were California natives, 88 percent (52). One child was counted that belonged to the one family (two persons, one adult and one child) reported to be homeless.

The count for Ventura County combined was 1,936.

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