Since 2019, more than half of the unsheltered homeless population in the United States has lived on the streets of California. This amounted to over 113,000 people in 2020. As shown in figure 1, from 2010 to 2020, overall homelessness in the Golden State grew by 31 percent and unsheltered homelessness ballooned by 57 percent. Nationally, overall and unsheltered homelessness decreased by about 9 percent and 3 percent, respectively, over the same period.
These increases in homelessness in California are not for lack of funding or awareness of homelessness in the state. In recent years, the state has spent billions of dollars on an array of homelessness programs and services, resulting in a 150 percent increase in permanent housing units in California from 2010 to 2020. According to a 2021 California State Auditor’s report, Sacramento allocated $4 billion in each of the last three fiscal years.