Different numbers tell different stories about homelessness.
In the latest annual homeless census, homelessness in the South Bay was down 21 percent – the largest drop in the county.
But that count and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development take a narrow view on who’s homeless: They count a person as homeless if he or she is living in a place not meant for human habitation, in an emergency shelter or in transitional housing.
A different homeless count, one done by the Department of Education, paints a more startling picture of thousands of families struggling for stable housing.
For a child to be homeless in the eyes of the Department of Education, they need to “lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.”
That means if a child is couch-surfing, or if they and their family are living in a motel, trailer park, campground, substandard or overcrowded living situation or in an emergency or homeless shelter – schools consider them homeless.