San Francisco and Alameda County would possibly delay homeless depend amid omicron issues

San Francisco and Alameda County are considering increasing the number of people living on the streets by about a month due to concerns about Omicron — further delaying a pivotal event that will help determine how much federal , state and local funds flowing into the homeless crisis.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development mandates the point-in-time count every two years. The census was due to take place last year but was canceled over concerns it would not be safe to conduct during the pandemic.

The San Francisco PIT count was originally scheduled for January 27, but may now be pushed back to late February. Alameda County’s was scheduled for Jan. 25 but could be moved to Feb. 23 instead.

San Mateo County pushed back its count to Feb. 24.

“The recent surge in the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus in our county has placed restrictions on staffing outreach programs, shelters and jurisdictions, and people living in the homeless, all of which are critical to both staffing and accuracy The point-in-time census is important,” said Chelsea Andrews, executive director of EveryOne Home, the organization that will conduct the census in Alameda County.

Andrews said the organization’s board voted Thursday morning to send her request to HUD and expects to hear whether her request is approved early next week.

Similarly, on Friday, San Francisco will decide whether to submit its application to HUD. Deborah Bouck, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, said HUD “indicated that they are willing to move the date.”

The point-in-time census requires hundreds of volunteers who typically spend a night in January counting every homeless person they see on streets, in parks, in cars, in shelters and in jails. Though critics say the count is typically an undercount of the actual homeless crisis, federal and city policymakers are using the data to determine how much money and resources are needed to address the crisis.

Sarah Ravani and Kevin Fagan are contributors to the San Francisco Chronicle. Email:, Twitter: @SarRavani, @KevinChron

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