Update on Fresno Homelessness


Householders pay such exorbitant rents that the slightest reversal in their income vs. expenses may result in them joining the ranks of the unsheltered homeless.   This information was shared at a meeting at the Central Valley Community Foundation last month which featured discussion of a consultant’s report on Updating Strategies to Reduce Homelessness.
Among the statistics revealed was   that in Fresno 54% of low income renters pay more than 30% for rent while 24% pay more than 50%.  In the county 80% pay more than  30% for rent and 70% pay more than 50%. When  compared with state statistics, Fresno City and County have a  lower local vacancy rate (2.2% vs. 4.8%),  lower median  income($49,000 vs. $68,000), along with a lower two bedroom rental cost ($890 vs. $1600); surprisingly  there is also a lower rate of homelessness per capita (17 vs. 30).
The report stressed that Fresno was doing the right things regarding identification, placement and supportive services for the homeless, but there was simply not enough funding to make significant changes, nor is  there enough low income housing to meet needs. 
A goal of the meeting was to identify strategies from other communities that tackled issues contributing to  homelessness, and methods of increasing access to affordable  rental housing.  However, no ideas were presented to increase such housing.

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