Addressing the Crisis: Which California Cities Lead in Homelessness?

California, which is well-known for its varied landscapes and thriving industry, is in sharp contrast to other states due to the widespread problem of homelessness.

There are cities in the state where the homelessness situation is very severe, making about 28% of the total homeless population in the country.

Los Angeles

With an alarming number of 65,111 homeless people, Los Angeles City & County leads the state in terms of the number of unsheltered individuals. The city has become a hub for folks without a place to live because of its pleasant climate and expansive metropolitan landscape.

San Jose

Following are San Jose/Santa Clara City & County, where 10,028 people are homeless. This growing number is a result of the high cost of living and the expansion of the tech industry, with a sizable section of the homeless population continuing to live in shelters.


Berkeley/Alameda County’s Oakland is not far behind, with 9,747 people facing homelessness. Many people in the city have been forced onto the streets by the lack of affordable housing, underscoring the need for long-term solutions.

An Issue for the Entire State

Homelessness is a problem that affects both suburban and rural locations outside of cities. Homelessness has increased in California’s largest towns; in Long Beach, there has been a 69% increase in homeless people between 2020 and 2023. This pattern indicates a state-wide issue that needs to be addressed right away.

Addressing the Crisis: Which California Cities Lead in Homelessness?

What is the state government’s approach to this problem?

Recognizing the gravity of the situation and the necessity for all-encompassing solutions, the state government of California has taken major action to solve the homelessness crisis. Here are a few important projects and actions:

Homekey subsidies: A total of 13,484 units have been built via Homekey, with the state providing $179.7 million in subsidies to build 710 homes in seven counties. The purchase and development of transitional and permanent housing for the homeless is facilitated by these grants.

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Small Homes Initiative: By providing 1,200 small homes to communities across California, Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration is creating history.

These tiny houses give homeless people a place to live and stability. In order to get these projects forward, the state has expedited the process by choosing site locations, putting out bids, and signing contracts.

Project Roomkey and Homekey: In order to combat homelessness, Project Roomkey and Homekey have been revolutionary. During the COVID-19 epidemic, 36,000 Californians were housed by Project Roomkey, and 6,000 inexpensive housing units were developed by Homekey.

Addressing the Crisis: Which California Cities Lead in Homelessness?

With a significant $8.75 billion investment, Governor Newsom is growing Homekey in order to provide at least 46,000 new affordable apartments and homeless housing units/placements.

Ending Family Homelessness: With a new $3.5 billion investment in housing, rental assistance, and home prevention, the state hopes to put an end to family homelessness within five years.

With the help of this strategy, 65,000 people will get housing, over 300,000 will have stability, and the needs of the most vulnerable—elders at high risk of homelessness and those with behavioral health disorders—will be given priority.

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Clean-Up Efforts: The state of California suggests allocating $1.5 billion to improve public areas and clean up the state’s roads in addition to addressing homelessness.

To Conclude

Cities like Los Angeles are in the forefront of California’s dire homelessness problem. Through Project Roomkey, Homekey, investments in affordable housing, and cleanup initiatives, the state is acting. California is moving in the right direction toward a time when everyone has a place to call home, even while the answers are not simple.

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