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Fresno area homeless population jumps

Homelessness is up almost 20 percent in the central San Joaquin Valley, the latest count from the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care shows.

According to the the 2019 Point-In-Time Homeless Count, 2,508 people are homeless between the two counties.

The City of Fresno alone accounts to 1,486 homeless people, with the vast bulk, 77.5 percent, being unsheltered.

The 2019 count is a jump of more than 200 homeless people from last year, the agency announced.

The County of Fresno was home to another 645 homeless people, a 90-person leap from 2018.

The City of Madera was home to 356 homeless people, with nearly 73 percent of the population unsheltered.

Madera County had a population of 21 homeless people, a decrease of 40 people.

2019 is the third straight year of increase in homelessness in the Fresno-Madera region.

Gov. Jerry Brown authorized $3.1 million in funding to the City of Fresno and $9.5 million in funding to the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care as part of the state’s Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP).

The funding, spread out over three years, will allow for funding toward an emergency shelter operated by the Continuum of Care to assist in incorporated and unincorporated areas of Fresno and Madera County.

The Fresno City Council approved a low-barrier shelter with its funding, Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said during a press conference. In total, it will house 90 standard beds and 33 transitional housing beds.

Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.