Governments and services providers tend to focus their efforts on the chronically homeless — an individual with a disability who has lived without consistent shelter for a year, or has had multiple recent bouts of homelessness. About 26% of Californians experiencing homelessness fit that definition, or some 34,000 people.
African-Americans are disproportionately found on California’s streets — roughly 30% of the state’s unhoused population is black, according to HUD. Several Bay Area regions, including San Francisco and Marin County, have some of the highest rates of black homelessness in the country. A legacy of racial discrimination in rental housing, higher rates of poverty among black families, and overrepresentation in the state’s incarceration and child welfare systems all contribute to the high numbers of African-Americans experiencing homelessness.
A person experiencing homelessness is about twice as likely to be male than female, and significantly more likely to be LGBTQ than in the population at large. A growing proportion are seniors, with new research indicating nearly half fall of seniors on the street fall into homelessness after age 50.