News » San Antonio News

San Antonio's Homeless Population Dropped Ever-So-Slightly in 2016


  • Wikimedia Commons
The number of homeless San Antonians has remained relatively unchanged over the past year, according to new data.

In January, volunteers counted a total of 2,743 homeless people living both on the streets and in shelters on a single evening. In January 2016, that number was only 38 people fewer. At same time, however, the population of Bexar county grew by the tens of thousands.

For Katie Vela, a program manger with San Antonio Regional Alliance for the Homeless (SARAH), stability is a good sign. But she's hopeful for a bigger drop by 2018, after SARAH rolls out new a housing program for the chronically homeless — a population that increased 6 percent in the last year.

"It's a population that usually has dealt with mental health or addiction issues for years," Vela told the Current. Which means they often have a harder time following typical tenant rules — leaving them in a cycle of eviction.

"Our goal is to lower as many barriers as possible for them," Vela said. "We need to meet people where they are."

The data also found a 12 percent decrease in homeless veterans in San Antonio, keeping up with the city's concerted effort to house all vets, and a 11 percent dip in homeless youth, a number that Vela is hesitant to trust.

"We've found that a ton of homeless youth couch surf with friends and family, making it hard to get a solid number," she said. "Data on homelessness is always going to be tricky."

This annual tally, conducted by SARAH, is part of a federal point in-time count required for any community that receives certain U.S. Housing and Urban Development funding. HUD has yet to release the federal totals of 2017.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.