The odd-numbered-year “homeless census” did not happen at all in 2021, and its delayed return has been pushed out a month in pretty much every Bay Area county, with SF likely making that call Friday.
Pretty much every annual event has been cancelled or postponed at least once as we wrap up our second full year of living with COVID-19. But most annual events are not federally mandated by the United States government. The annual homeless point-in-time count is federally mandated “on a single night in January” in odd-numbered years for every county in the U.S., or at least, “all jurisdictions receiving federal Homeless Assistance Grant funding.” Obviously, that means every county in the Bay Area.
But many counties delayed the so-called “homeless census” in 2021, with the federal government’s blessing, for COVID-19 reasons. And now that their year-long delay is up, many Bay Area Counties have delayed it again until late February according to the Bay Area News Group.
The San Francisco Local Homeless Coordinating Board will vote on whether to delay the SF count until February 23 at a Friday, 1 p.m. meeting.
“Santa Clara County is moving its count back again, to Feb. 23 and 24,” according to the Bay Area News Group. “Contra Costa and San Mateo counties also are moving their street counts to Feb. 24. Alameda County officials voted Wednesday to move their count to Feb. 23.”
The issue is COVID-19 safety, and potential volunteers who would conduct the count are understandably skittish. “It’s an important process and an important part of the work that we do, and we just want to make sure people feel and are as safe as possible in conducting this important work,” regional coordinator for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Helene Schneider told the news group.
In San Francisco, though, volunteers are a moot point. “The city is not accepting community volunteers this year, as a COVID safety precaution,” the Bay Area News Group says.
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