The 2018 Sonoma County point-in-time homeless count begins Friday morning when 150 volunteers and 60 paid homeless people will be deployed from five locations to cover all 126 census tracts in the county.
The annual count usually is conducted in January but the October wildfires delayed the count this year, said Michael Gause, Sonoma County Continuum of Care coordinator.
In addition to the street count, this year's effort includes a phone survey of 2,000 households to estimate the number of individuals and families who are considered unstably housed and at risk of homelessness.
"It's not required but we want to do it because of the impact of the fires," Gause said this morning.
The wildfires shifted areas of the homeless population — particularly those 18 to 24 years old, he said.
The homeless people, who will be paid $15 an hour, know the county's homeless hotspots, Gause said.
This year's count also includes a count of teens and homeless youth 18 to 24 years old.
Homelessness in Sonoma County has decreased two to three percent since 2015, Gause said.
The 2011 total number of homeless was 4,539. In 2015 it was 3,107 and in 2017 it was 2,835. Final results of the 2018 count are expected in June.