San Bernardino homeless count begins

Around 200 volunteers are fanned out across the city of San Bernardino Thursday to take part in the annual Point-in-Time count.

The PITC homeless count surveys the unhoused population in order to comply with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the federal agency which allocates the bulk of federal funding for fighting homelessness. 

Deputy Director of Housing and Homelessness in San Bernardino, Cassandra Searcy, said the PITC is critical in San Bernardino especially, where there is the highest concentration of homeless individuals in San Bernardino County. 

RELATED: 2023 homeless count begins in Los Angeles County

"It allows us to gauge the number of homeless both housed and unhoused, then take that data and apply for resources and funding for the homeless," Searcy said. 

Volunteers on Thursday will primarily be finding out demographic information, such as who is on the street (individuals or families), background, what gaps of services there are, and impediments keeping people from accessing a shelter. It's all critical information, so the city can go back to the state and HUD to apply for those resources, Searcy explained.

Eighty percent of the homeless population in San Bernardino does not have an income, which is a big driving issue of the crisis, said Searcy. Additionally, 44% suffer from mental health issues and 66% suffer from substance abuse. The lack of affordable housing in San Bernardino is the biggest driving factor, Searcy added. 

RELATED: Officials to begin count of LA County's homeless population

Earlier this week Los Angeles conducted its PITC and Long Beach is slated to conduct theirs this week as well.