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Ask The Standard: Who is homeless in San Francisco?

A person prepares a sleeping bag on the street.
Cindy Stubbs, who recently suffered an attack by another homeless resident, moves her sleeping area outside the San Francisco Ferry Building in San Francisco on June 3, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

This installment of Ask The Standard draws from a set of widely held questions about homelessness in San Francisco.

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Of the estimated 7,754 homeless people in the city, around 1,100 are under 18, and about 600 are veterans, according to the 2022 Point-in-Time Count. Around 35% of them have been homeless for at least a year or have repeatedly found themselves without housing.

Black people—who are only 6% of the city’s population—account for a disproportionate 38% of unhoused people. By contrast, white people make up more than half of the general population but are only 43% of the city’s homeless population. Asian people account for 37% of San Francisco residents but are only 6% of homeless people. In a separate question on ethnicity, the survey found that nearly a third of homeless San Franciscans identified as Hispanic or Latino.

Most of the homeless population is male—62%—while 34% is female, 3% is transgender and 1% is gender nonconforming.

A substantial portion has found themselves without a home later in life. About a quarter of the city’s homeless population is over the age of 51, while around 20% are between 18 and 24.

David Sjostedt can be reached at