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  • Writer's pictureJ. Wilson

The Story of Joseph Herrera: Understanding Homelessness in California

Homelessness continues to be a major problem in California and across the United States. As of 2022, 30% of all people in the United States experiencing homelessness resided in California, including half of all unsheltered people. Every January, the federal government conducts a “Point in Time” (PIT) count of the nation’s homeless population. The 2022 count, released last December, offers the first complete data since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March of 2020.

Joseph Herrera is one of the many Californians struggling with homelessness. His story is a heartbreaking one but it is also one that is all too common among people who experience homelessness in California. In this post, we’ll take a look at Joseph’s story and how it reflects a larger pattern of homelessness in the state.

Joseph Herrera’s Story

Joseph Herrera is a 44-year-old father of two who has been living in a tent in San Francisco since 2017. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and worked in the construction industry for 13 years before being laid off in 2016. After being laid off, he was unable to find another job and was soon evicted from his apartment.

Since then, Joseph has been unable to find stable housing, relying on temporary shelters and the kindness of strangers to get by. Despite his struggles, Joseph has remained hopeful, believing that one day he will be able to find permanent housing and get back on his feet.

Homelessness in California

Joseph’s story is all too common in California, where the homeless population has been on the rise for more than a decade. According to the 2022 PIT count, California has the highest homeless population in the nation with 115,491 people experiencing homelessness, including 57,849 unsheltered individuals. This means that nearly one in four homeless people in the United States live in California.

Unfortunately, this number is only expected to increase in the coming years due to the ongoing economic crisis caused by the pandemic. With many Californians unable to pay their rent and facing eviction, it is estimated that the homeless population in the state will grow by as much as 10% in 2022.

What Can Be Done?

The homelessness crisis in California is dire and requires immediate attention. It is essential that state and local governments work together to provide resources and support for those who are struggling with homelessness. This includes providing access to safe and affordable housing, mental health services, job training, and other supportive services.

It is also important to focus on prevention and intervention efforts, such as providing more resources to those at risk of homelessness and helping people find stable housing and employment. Additionally, it is essential to continue to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness and the need for more resources and support.


Joseph Herrera’s story is a heartbreaking one but it is also a familiar one for many who are struggling with homelessness in California. With the homeless population in the state expected to grow in the coming years, it is essential that state and local governments take immediate action to provide resources and support for those who are struggling with homelessness. Through prevention and intervention efforts, we can work to reduce homelessness in California and ensure that no to experience the same struggles that Joseph and so many others have faced.

If you’d like to help people like Joseph who are struggling with homelessness in California, consider donating to a local homeless organization or volunteering with a local shelter. Every bit helps and your support can make a difference in the lives of those who are struggling.

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