The Need for SHCLA Housing

Mental health challenges are a primary cause of homelessness in Alameda Co.

  • Adults with serious mental illness were 32% of the total homeless population in 2019.
  • 21% indicated that mental health services may have prevented their homelessness.
  • 39% of respondents reported that they experienced psychiatric or emotional conditions and 30% reported they experienced post-traumatic stress disorder. 

People of color are overrepresented among those experiencing homelessness in Alameda County.

  • 47% of those experiencing homelessness identify as Black/African American compared to 11% of the county’s overall population.

The need for affordable housing for individuals with severe mental health challenges continues to increase due to a housing crisis that significantly affects this vulnerable population

  • In the Bay Area, fair market rents for one-bedroom apartments grew by 71% between 2013 - 2015.
  • Households living on fixed incomes face the most significant challenges in maintaining a home in this environment.
  • In 2024, a monthly SSI payment for disabled individuals covered less than half the monthly rent of a one-bedroom apartment in Alameda Co.

Alameda County experienced significant declines in the number of affordable rooms in facilities frequently used by low-income individuals with serious mental health challenges

  • Between 2004 and 2014, Oakland experienced a 55% decline in the number of available residential hotel units.
  • Fifty independent living facilities used by people living with serious mental health challenges had been sold or closed during that time, displacing an estimated 500 residents.
  • In 2022, Alameda Co. Behavioral Health Services lost over 80 licensed adult residential facility beds for people living with serious mental health conditions.
Illustration of an African American woman smiling

“I’ve seen people put out when they’re at their most vulnerable.”

- Alameda County peer