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California is in the midst of a homeless crisis – it has the most homeless people of any state in the USA, and most of these individuals have been defined as chronically homeless. In other words, they’ve been homeless for over a year.

The exact number of homeless people living in California is not easy to ascertain with any degree of certainty. This is because the methods of counting them are inexact – counting is largely done by volunteers who literally go into the streets to count heads.

That said, it is estimated that the numbers of homeless people in the state have increased in 2019. The Federal Housing and Urban Development Department has estimated that there are around 130 000 people sleeping on the street on any given night. The majority of these individuals – around 70% – don’t make use of shelters such as temporary living arrangement or local government and charity homeless shelters – largely because there just aren’t enough shelter. This has been blamed on a lack of resources.  

California’s homeless crisis is not surprising when one considers that there are more than 1.7 million low income families, who spend at least half of their earnings on housing. With so little disposable income left over, even the smallest unexpected cost can send a family spiralling into homelessness.

Indeed, in a city of almost obscene wealth, those earning a regular salary are challenged to find affordable housing. And as the state’s wealth increases, so do housing costs. This, together with restrictive growth and zoning laws has distorted supply and demand; and many are faced with the choice of leaving California, or living in a tent or RV.

There is an upside, however. The state set aside approximately $5 billion dollars for 2018/19, which was allocated to affordable housing and the homeless crisis. At least $60 million of this amount is being used for homeless responsibility programmes, the establishment of affordable permanent housing as well as support for the mentally ill, the youth and victims of domestic violence.



These aren’t just words, neatly packed to sound helpful “in theory”; these are the very real concepts on which the global movement of positive change is built.
It’s with these ideas that The Philanthropic Collection home to The CEO SleepOut is turning old world philanthropy on its head;
getting business leaders to sleep on the streets to raise funds and gain empathy for the homeless in The CEO SleepOut Event;
and sparking conversations that truly lead to worldwide action.

By Ali Gregg