Contra Costa County Health Services released a press release this morning (May 16) reporting that the homeless population has increased 30 percent since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The annual homelessness survey draws attention to the lack of affordable housing and the collateral impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the community. There are approximately 3,093 people staying in shelter beds across the county in 2022, compared to 2,295 in 2019.
With inflation currently on the rise, renters in Contra Costa County need to earn an hourly rate of $37.54–which works out to an annual wage of around $78,000–to afford the county’s average asking rent of $1,952 according to California Housing Partnership May 2021 Report. Unfortunately, the county is short more than 27,000 units of affordable housing units compared to the need.
Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia said in the press release, “The county has worked hard to increase shelter beds and interim housing, providing housing vouchers and other resources to help people who lose their housing get back on their feet. What we need – and what we are working hard to bring about – is more permanent housing with supportive services which is priced within the economic reach of ordinary working people.”
GRIP remains a key partner of the county, providing meals and services for those increased numbers.
Housing activists say non-profits like GRIP kept the numbers from becoming far, far worse.
“Bay Area governments and nonprofits played deep defense on homelessness during the pandemic and we have more or less held the line—but now we need to go on offense and end the suffering on our streets” said Tomiquia Moss, Founder and CEO of All Home, a regional organization dedicated to ending homelessness and housing insecurity for people with extremely low incomes. “It’s time to double down on what’s working.”
County supervisors established the Local Housing Trust Fund with $10 million from Measure X, which will work on the construction and preservation of affordable housing.
The Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP) is a homeless shelter in Richmond and we aim to alleviate homelessness in the community by providing services and temporary housing to the homelessness population.
For decades, GRIP’s mission has evolved from a small community food pantry to a multiservice agency, which serves 15,000 homeless, hungry, and low-income consumers annually.