Fresno leaders say the homeless population in Fresno and Madera Counties has declined by 53-percent since 2013.
The newest count released Monday found almost 1,200 unsheltered homeless people compared to more than 2,500 two years ago.
Preston Price with the Fresno Housing Authority says a new focus on providing housing first is driving the rate down.
“The housing first model, which has a higher success rate, says let’s get a person into housing and bring the services they need to them. And that has a higher success rate,” Price said.
But some advocates who work with homeless people say there is no way the numbers have gone down so sharply.
Homeless advocate Nancy Holmes says homeless people are terrified of city employees and hiding from government counters.
“Because the homeless are afraid they are hiding in every nook and cranny and they don’t want to talk because they have been bulldozed and bullied,” Holmes said.
The count also found just over 500 homeless people living in shelters…which is a slight decline from 2013.