2011 Butte County Homeless Census

What is the Point in Time (PIT) count? It is an annual survey of people who are homeless throughout our county. The count is a snap-shot, and only represents people who were homeless on the day of the count (January 27 this year). In other words, this is not a tally of everyone who faces or struggled with homelessness or might have been homeless between the annual counts but then achieved self-sufficiency before the next count was done. This is only the people we could identify as homeless on that particular day.

We are mandated to do the PIT Count every two years, but service providers here in Butte County have decided to perform this count every year because of the valuable data we receive that helps us to improve our programs and be more effective. Thank you to Meagan Meloy from the Butte Countywide Homelessness Continuum of Care for her leadership on this year’s PIT count.

The primary statistic from the PIT count is that we now have at least 1,772 people in Butte County who are homeless. As a point of reference, that’s close to the stated population of Biggs, California. So, it’s not unreasonable to state that we have an entire community of people who are homeless in Butte County and that they are just as diverse as any other town that makes up Butte County.

Other significant PIT count stats include (in no particular order):

  • 12% of people who are homeless in Butte County have children. At the Torres Community Shelter, we are happy that our 2009 remodel has given us a total of 5 family rooms now (up from 2 previously) and they’ve all been full most nights since we opened them.
  • 32% of people who are homeless in Butte County are currently doubling up with family or friends; thank you to all those that have opened their homes up to loved ones that need you.
  • 24% of people who are homeless in Butte County have pets. We would like to remove this barrier for those who may otherwise want to stay at our Shelter, but we won’t move forward in providing pet accommodations, until we are certain that we can adequately provide for the health and safety of the animals we would take in.
  • 30% of people who are homeless in Butte County reported living unsheltered--540 people reported living outdoors. 18% met the definition of ”chronically homeless”. We had an outreach program in 2009/2010 that focused on services for people in this population. Through our outreach efforts, we were seeing more and more people come into the shelter after living outside for long periods of time. This is difficult work that takes time to build up trust. Unfortunately, we did not receive a grant to continue the outreach program this year, but hope to find funding to re-start our outreach program.
  • 48% of people who are homeless in Butte County reported having no financial resources, 53% reported “employment/ financial reasons” as the cause of homelessness, and 66% reported “no job or income” as a barrier to accessing housing. This is up significantly from 2010. In our current economy this shouldn’t surprise many of us.
  • 13% of people who are homeless in Butte County reported military service.
  • 37% reported having a physical disability and 28% reported having a mental illness. These statistics are consistent with what we’ve seen at the Torres Community Shelter as well. Often our guests have multiple barriers we need to help them address so that they can leave the Shelter and not need to return to us. We are working with our partner agencies to identify the gaps in our safety network and the results of the PIT Count help inform and direct our efforts.
  • 60% reported living in our county for five years or longer. This is an important finding because it illustrates that a large percentage of people who are homeless in our county are long-standing members of the community. 

To view the complete Butte County Continuum of Care 2010 Homeless Census Report please click here