The problem is highly visible in California. Because of its high cost of housing, the supplemental poverty measure puts its poverty rate as the highest in the nation.
It’s the white whale of California politicians and policymakers, the problem that only seems to intensify no matter how much attention and money are devoted to it: homelessness.
About six in 10 Californians said the homeless population has grown in their community over the past year, according to a recent Public Policy Institute of California survey. A whopping 70% of likely voters identified homelessness as a big problem — a warning sign for candidates in the Nov. 8 general election — and 14% of residents described the issue as the most important facing the state, second only to the share who chose jobs, the economy and inflation.
But do people’s perceptions square with California’s homelessness reality?
Yes, according to a new story from CalMatters housing reporter Manuela Tobias, the first to reveal a statewide snapshot of California’s homelessness crisis since the onset of the pandemic three years ago: The number of people in the Golden State without a stable place to call home has increased by at least 22,500 since 2019, to 173,800.