New data shows 20,000 people will be homeless in San Francisco this year

San Francisco officials estimate as many as 20,000 people will experience homelessness at some point in the year 2022 — and for every one person housed by a city program, four more will become unhoused.

Those figures, contained in a report set to be released Thursday, reflect the Sisyphean nature of battling one of the city’s worst crises in some of the starkest terms ever. As dire as those numbers are, though, the report also shows the most significant headway at 17 years in reducing overall homelessness in San Francisco.

The new data is contained in the city’s full Point-in-Time Count, which fleshes out details hinted at in a much briefer summation released in May, when officials announced San Francisco saw a 3.5% drop in homelessness over three years, going from 8,035 to 7,754. That number reflects a snapshot in time — one night — versus the 20,000 people over the course of a year.

The count, normally taken every two years to qualify for federal funding, was conducted in one night in February. The last tally was done in 2019, but the city skipped a year because of the pandemic.

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