Homelessness increased almost 7% in Bexar County. Advocates say they aren’t worried.

Katie Wilson, executive director of Close to Home, which conducts the count, argues the increase isn’t actually significant.

SAN ANTONIO — Every year, the point-in-time (PIT) count provides a snapshot of homelessness in Bexar County. This year 3,372 people are experiencing homelessness, according to the count, which was taken on Jan. 23. 

That marks a 6.8% increase over last year.

But Katie Wilson, executive director of the organization Close to Home, which conducts the count, argues the increase isn’t actually significant.

“The reason for that is that unsheltered homelessness, which is what our community is probably most familiar with, went up by 1.6%, which is 14 people,” Wilson said. “So when you think about the room for error and going out and counting people on a single night, it’s not significant.”

According to the report, there has been an 11% increase in families with at least one child needing to be sheltered.

Haven for Hope explains they are currently serving 135 families. Their dorm is consistently full and they do have an Emergency Services program for overflow.

The organization wrote in a statement: “Haven will not turn a family in Bexar County away from receiving services. The increase in families experiencing homelessness can be attributed to a number of things including inflation, rent prices on the rise, eviction moratorium being lifted after Covid.”

Though taking all factors into consideration, Wilson explains homelessness is holding steady.

“We also increased our bed capacity by 10%. Looking at those factors, I think we’re pretty flat because of all of the work that we’re doing,” Wilson said. “That’s part of what we look at is homelessness as a percentage of the overall population. Looking at it that way, it’s a 0.01% increase. Our population overall has gone up 3%. And then when you look at inflation and rents rising, there are all of these factors that impact homelessness beyond what our partners can do. So we need these big picture solutions like housing development, to keep pace with with those other challenges.”

Christian Assistance Ministry (CAM), which assists the low-barrier population, agrees with Wilson on her assessment of the findings.

“In my organization, we largely serve a very specific population of people experiencing homelessness,” said Dawn White-Fosdick, CEO and president of CAM. “It is usually the chronically homeless people who are living on the street. I cannot say that we’ve seen an extreme increase in this population. In many cities across our country, the number of homelessness and the culture of homelessness has gotten large and concerning, and we have not seen that kind of anything here.”

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