County’s Homeless Population Soars 22 Percent In Two Years | Santa Cruz, California | Mercury News
SANTA CRUZ — Fueled largely by the sour economy and expensive rents, the homeless population in Santa Cruz County has soared 22 percent in two years.
The number of people without homes is estimated at 2,771, according to a count conducted in January by the United Way of Santa Cruz County and the nonprofit research firm Applied Survey Research of Watsonville.
The homeless tally in 2009, the last time a census was taken, was 2,265.
The 2011 Santa Cruz County Homeless Census and Survey report will be released at 10 a.m. today at a public meeting at Twin Lakes Church in Aptos.
Most alarming for researchers studying the community’s homeless was the jump in number of people under age 25 living on the streets, and the number of people experiencing homelessness for the first time, which increased 40 percent in two years.
There were 99 young people living without shelter in 2011 compared with 34 in 2009, the report says.
Mary Lou Goeke, executive director of the United Way of Santa Cruz County, attributes the spike in homeless youth to stiff competition for entry-level jobs on top of “sky-high rents.”
“There is great difficulty finding jobs at the bottom of the employment ladder,” Goeke said. “People with skills and degrees are competing for the entry-level jobs. It’s very hard to get jobs.”
via Mercury News