Homeless census count reveals fewer people staying in Bexar County shelters amid pandemic

A new report released Monday is showing the current overview of homelessness in San Antonio and Bexar County

A new report released Monday is showing the current overview of homelessness in San Antonio and Bexar County.

SAN ANTONIO – The South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless, or SARAH, released the 2021 Point-In-Time Count results Monday morning.

The Point-In-Time is an annual census of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness that takes place during a single night in January.

“The results of the Point-In-Time count always drive our planning efforts over the next year,” said Katie Vela, executive director of SARAH.

The report released on Monday was different than previous years. Due to safety concerns brought on by the pandemic, SARAH canceled its count of unsheltered individuals this year.

“We did a one-night shelter count, and so we presented those results today. But for our unsheltered count, we looked at data over the past year,” Vela said.

Vela said one of the trends SARAH saw was an increase in the number of people reporting a mental health concern who are unsheltered.

“This is going to be a key part of our strategy moving forward into this next year. Seventy-one percent of people who are unsheltered reported on a mental health concern,” Vela said.

Another key finding shows the total count of people experiencing homelessness in shelters on the night of the count was 1,499, a 10% decrease from the 2020 sheltered count.

“Over the last year, we actually saw a decrease in the number of people in our shelters due to the moratorium on evictions, and we think it might also be due to concerns about being in a congregate setting because of COVID-19. So we’re expecting that, when the moratorium on evictions ends, we’ll start to see more people seeking shelter,” Vela said.

The data collected from this year’s report helps local agencies determine the types of programs that are needed.

SARAH will continue hosting a series of events this week focused on homelessness. The events are open to the public.


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