Fresno, Madera census reveals homelessness is up again. Local leaders see a silver lining.

The Valley’s largest region for homeless population tracking reported a jump in unhoused people, but not nearly as bad as other regions of the state.

Fresno and Madera Counties have experienced another rise in homelessness, the seventh-straight year that the numbers of people living on the streets has risen in the region. 

The data comes from the Fresno-Madera Continuum of Care’s 2023 point-in-time count, which took place on Jan. 24. 


The big picture: Homelessness in Fresno and Madera Counties has increased by seven percent from 2022. 

  • The total number of homelessness counted was 4,493, up from 4,216 last year. 
  • Of the total homeless population, 2,758 people were unsheltered, coming in at 61 percent of the total. There were 1,431 people staying at an emergency shelter – 32 percent of the total, and the remaining 304 people who were counted were enrolled in a transitional housing program. 

Go deeper: The point-in-count also found that 63 percent of the region’s homeless population was male, 36 percent was female and one percent identified as transgender or gender non-conforming. 

  • There were 389 people counted that were children, meaning 91 percent of the homeless population was adults. 
  • Of the adult population, 36 percent reported having a substance use disorder, and 33 percent reported having a mental health problem. 
  • One-third of the homeless population, around 1,500 people, were chronically homeless, meaning that they had been homeless for at least one year and had at least one disabling condition. That’s up from 25 percent last year. 
  • Nineteen percent of the homeless people, 769 in total, identified as survivors of domestic violence, while six percent were veterans and one percent had an HIV/AIDS-related illness. 
  • The City of Fresno had the majority of the homeless population at 3,207 people, while the rest of Fresno County had 605 people surveyed. The continuum counted 541 homeless people living in the City of Madera and 140 living throughout the rest of Madera County. 

What they’re saying: While Fresno and Madera Counties are once again dealing with a rise in homelessness, continuum vice chair Jody Ketcheside said the region’s numbers are lower than the statewide trends, including over 20 percent increases in some areas. 

  • “What that tells me is that we’re on the right track, but we have a ton more work to do to get a handle on things,” Ketcheside said. “But it’s a positive sign for us at the continuum that we are at least trending on the low end of what’s happening across the state.” 
  • Fresno Assistant Director of Planning Phil Skei said the city is disheartened by the increase but recognizes that the crisis is not unique to Fresno and Madera Counties. 
  • “We are experiencing more success addressing homelessness than so many other jurisdictions in the state and nationally,” Skei said.
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