Homelessness & Housing Insecurity

One in 12 Students Experience Housing Insecurity

Increasing rent or mortgage costs, foreclosure, loss of a job, or simply not having enough money to afford the high upfront costs of renting or buying are challenges that can force many families into living conditions they would not choose otherwise. Living doubled- or tripled-up due to economic constraints can place stress on personal relationships, housing stock, public services, and infrastructure. When shared housing is not an option, the result can be homelessness. This indicator measures housing security in San Bernardino County by tracking the demand for rental assistance and public housing, the number of public school students who are homeless or have insecure housing arrangements, and the point-in-time homeless count.

How is San Bernardino County Doing?

Due to high demand and low supply, most residents seeking a rent subsidy from their local Housing Authority will wait many years before the opportunity arises:

  • In 2017, there were over 40,000 households waiting for a rental assistance voucher.1
  • A monthly average of approximately 8,761 households currently receive a voucher.
  • The supply of vouchers remains limited because housing authorities have not had the opportunity to apply to the federal government for additional housing vouchers since 2003.
  • In addition to voucher rental assistance, demand for affordable public housing is an estimated 16 times higher than available supply. 2

Supply and Demand of Rental Assistance Vouchers and Public Housing

San Bernardino County, 2017
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Sources: Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino and Needles Housing Authority

Approximately one in 12 school age students have insecure housing:

  • In the 2017/18 school year, 33,286 San Bernardino County K-12 students were identified as homeless or lacking secure housing, representing 8.3% of total enrollment.3
  • Among homeless and housing insecure students, 92% are living doubled- or tripled-up in a home due to economic hardship, 4% live in motels, 3% live in shelters, and 2% live unsheltered in cars, parks or campgrounds.

Primary Nighttime Residence of Students Identified as Homeless or Housing Insecure

San Bernardino County, 2014-2018
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Sources: California Department of Education, according to information provided by school districts on their Local Education Agency Reporting Form Title 1, Part A and Homeless Education Consolidated Application (2013/14-2015/16); San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (2016/17-2017/18)

The San Bernardino County Homeless Count and Subpopulation Survey is an annual census of the number of people experiencing homelessness in a 24-hour period in January. 4 The 2018 count revealed the following:

  • 2,118 people were homeless, which is 13.5% more than the 1,866 homeless that were counted in January 2017.
  • 68% of the homeless counted in 2018 were unsheltered (1,447). The remainder were sheltered in some type of housing for the homeless.
  • 94 seniors (defined as age 62 and over) were living unsheltered.

Olive Meadow Update and Grand Opening

In the fall of 2017, the Housing Authority of San Bernardino County celebrated the grand opening of the Olive Meadow Affordable Housing Community with residents and community members. This community of 62 high-quality homes was completed in partnership with National Community Renaissance, the city of San Bernardino, the County of San Bernardino, the Hope through Housing Foundation, and other valuable partners. It represents the first onsite phase of the Waterman Gardens Affordable Housing site revitalization, which is part of a larger Arrowhead Grove Neighborhood Revitalization effort. The Arrowhead Grove effort calls for more than 400 housing units, community amenities, upgraded infrastructure, and an integrated educational environment.

1Rental assistance in the form of Housing Choice Vouchers, or a similar program, enables recipients to seek housing in the private market from landlords who will accept the vouchers. The voucher subsidizes the recipient’s rent. Unlike in previous years, the voucher waitlist count has not been discounted to account for potential duplication. In 2017, all housing assistance services provided by the Upland Housing Authority were transferred to the Housing Authority of San Bernardino County, so duplication between the two agencies is no longer an issue. 2Public housing can take the form of apartment complexes or houses that are owned by a government agency and rented at a subsidized rate to income eligible recipients. 3The federal law that governs the identification of homeless and housing insecure school-age students (McKinney-Vento) includes those who are living unsheltered as well as those housed in shelters, motels or hotels, or living doubled- or tripled-up due to economic hardship. Totals do not add to 100% due to rounding. 4The point-in-time estimates of homelessness are based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development definition of homelessness, which only counts individuals living in homeless shelters or living unsheltered in a place not intended for human habitation.