In January of every odd year, the federal government requires communities across the country to conduct “point-in-time” counts of every person experiencing homelessness. Because of COVID-19 public health guidelines, communities could opt out of conducting the PIT in 2021, and that’s what Marin County decided to do. However, in its place, the County coordinated a dedicated vehicle count. It is commonly believed that people who are living in their vehicles are more recently homeless (i.e. if a person loses their housing, they are more likely to transition to their vehicle, if they have one, than directly to the street). From 2019 to 2021, there was a 91% countywide increase in the number of people living in vehicles, including a 119% increase in San Rafael specifically (58 vehicles to 127). Of note, the number of people experiencing homelessness in San Rafael remains less than 30% of the countywide total population, yet again showing the countywide nature of this problem.
On January 28, 2019, there were 1,034 people experiencing homelessness in Marin, down from 1,117 in 2017 and 1,309 in 2015.