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Mark Nuaimi, right, with Citylink, a homeless service, hands Miriam Mendez, from Fontana, a hygiene kit during the 2024 Homeless Point In Time Count at Miller Park in Fontana on Thursday morning Jan. 25, 2024. Mendez said she has been homeless for a year. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
Mark Nuaimi, right, with Citylink, a homeless service, hands Miriam Mendez, from Fontana, a hygiene kit during the 2024 Homeless Point In Time Count at Miller Park in Fontana on Thursday morning Jan. 25, 2024. Mendez said she has been homeless for a year. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
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Volunteers, public employees, faith groups and nonprofits fanned out across San Bernardino County Thursday morning, Jan. 25, taking part in the annual Point-in-Time Count of homeless residents.

In addition to the basic step of locating and counting the number of county residents living without permanent shelter — data required to get U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding to combat homelessness — those who conduct the survey connect homeless residents with services and shelters as they go.

And that’s just what happened with some homeless residents on Thursday, according to Office of Homeless Services Director Marcus Dillard.

“There’s a possibility that we’ll go from the street into a unit in one day,” he said.

Riverside County does its count of unsheltered residents every two years, as allowed by federal law. This year, the county will survey homeless people in shelters rather than those living on the streets. .

  • San Bernardino Second District Supervisor Jesse Armendarez hands a woman...

    San Bernardino Second District Supervisor Jesse Armendarez hands a woman a blanket during the 2024 Homeless Point In Time Count in Fontana on Thursday morning Jan. 25, 2024. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • San Bernardino Second District Supervisor Jesse Armendarez speaks to a...

    San Bernardino Second District Supervisor Jesse Armendarez speaks to a woman huddled under an umbrella with her belongings during the 2024 Homeless Point In Time Count in Fontana on Thursday morning Jan. 25, 2024. The woman was hoping to receive a hotel voucher. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • A person sleeps under a blanket in front of the...

    A person sleeps under a blanket in front of the Fontana Lewis Library & Technology Center as the 2024 Homeless Point In Time Count takes place in Fontana on Thursday morning Jan. 25, 2024. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Mark Nuaimi, left, with Citylink, a homeless service, along with...

    Mark Nuaimi, left, with Citylink, a homeless service, along with San Bernardino Second District Supervisor Jesse Armendarez, second from left, speak with Scott Lozano during the 2024 Homeless Point In Time Count at Miller Park in Fontana on Thursday morning Jan. 25, 2024. Lozano, from Riverside, said he has been homeless for a year. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Mark Nuaimi, with Citylink, a homeless service, speaks to a...

    Mark Nuaimi, with Citylink, a homeless service, speaks to a man living in a tent near the 10 Freeway during the 2024 Homeless Point In Time Count in Fontana on Thursday morning Jan. 25, 2024. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Mark Nuaimi, left, with Citylink, a homeless service, along with...

    Mark Nuaimi, left, with Citylink, a homeless service, along with San Bernardino Second District Supervisor Jesse Armendarez, take part in the 2024 Homeless Point In Time Count in Fontana on Thursday morning Jan. 25, 2024. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • A man bundled in a blanket walks near the Fontana...

    A man bundled in a blanket walks near the Fontana Lewis Library & Technology Center as the 2024 Homeless Point In Time Count takes place in Fontana on Thursday morning Jan. 25, 2024. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Mark Nuaimi, right, with Citylink, a homeless service, hands Miriam...

    Mark Nuaimi, right, with Citylink, a homeless service, hands Miriam Mendez, from Fontana, a hygiene kit during the 2024 Homeless Point In Time Count at Miller Park in Fontana on Thursday morning Jan. 25, 2024. Mendez said she has been homeless for a year. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

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Last year, for how it prepares its volunteers for the annual canvass of its residents without permanent shelter.

But there’s more work to be done to reduce homelessness.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, . In San Bernardino County, the number of homeless residents counted by volunteers went up more than twice that, with the number of homeless residents counted jumping 26% year over year in 2023. It went up and last year.

The county pledged $72 million to house those who have become homeless and for intervention programs to prevent county residents from falling into that state.

But the county also returned $4.4 million in HUD funds intended to fight homelessness in late 2022. Local nonprofits said former county officials were “sitting” on the pandemic-era money for two years before getting serious about spending it.

San Bernardino County’s new top two officials on the project, Dillon and County Community Development and Housing Director Carrie Harmon, say they’re building on what worked this year and going forward.

“We took it up a notch. We coordinated with the cities and built upon past efforts so we had really solid volunteer participation,” Harmon said Thursday.

Getting more people off the streets and into shelters is key, she said. The county has already approved three projects that will make 300 more beds available in future.

“At the end of the day, we know we need more shelter and housing units,” she said.

San Bernardino County isn’t alone in stepping up its efforts to help get residents without permanent shelter off the streets.

On Wednesday, Jan. 24, the city of San Bernardino announced plans for a 140-unit housing development for homeless men. The $50 million project will be largely financed by a $35 million state grant.

On Thursday, the city announced its Housing and Homeless Division would temporarily be reporting directly to City Manager Charles Montoya. He linked the decision to the city’s need to get more housing and shelters built quickly, after a federal judge temporarily banned the city from removing or displacing homeless residents from public spaces.

“Housing and homelessness are two of the city’s top priorities,” Montoya is quoted as saying in the city’s news release. “We have several large projects to complete in a short period of time and must ensure that the recent temporary injunction restricting our ability to address encampments is lifted quickly.”

Results from the county’s Point-in-Time count won’t be available for several months at least. Although the count gets a lot of attention, it’s by no means the beginning or end of efforts to battle homelessness, officials say.

“This work is being done each and every day,” Dillard said.

More on homelessness in San Bernardino County

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