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Nearly 60 percent of Orange County homeless sleep outside

A homeless encampment near the Santa Ana River, April 21, 2017. According to a January 2019 tally, 6,860 people sleep outside or in shelters in Orange County.
A homeless encampment near the Santa Ana River, April 21, 2017. According to a January 2019 tally, 6,860 people sleep outside or in shelters in Orange County.
Jill Replogle/KPCC

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In Orange County, nearly 7,000 people have no place to call home on any given night, according to new figures from the county's official homeless tally, carried out in January. That's up 43 percent from 2017, although the increase is likely due, in part, to a change in methodology.

Nearly 60 percent of those counted were sleeping outside, without shelter. This is despite the county adding nearly 1,400 new shelter beds in the last two years. The data show that those beds are now mostly full.