San Diego County homeless population up from 2016

"Homelessness is on the rise"

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The county's annual count of the local homeless population found there has been a 5-percent increase of people living on San Diego's streets from last year.

The annual count from the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, which was conducted in January, found there were 9,116 homeless people in San Diego, compared to 8,669 in 2016.

Volunteers canvas various areas of the region during a single-day count, to get an estimate of the number of homeless individuals on any given night.

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"Having these numbers to work with puts in black and white what many of us have been sensing: Homelessness is on the rise," San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts, who chairs the task force, said. "Yet while the overall increase is disappointing, trends around the region, and with certain groups such as veterans, are encouraging."

The WeAllCount campaign, or "Point-in-Time Count," is conducted to help determine the number and location of homeless individuals in the region and secure about $18 million critical federal funding for housing and services.

"The record-breaking amount of volunteers that come out to count is evidence that San Diego deeply cares about its homeless neighbors and finding a solution," Dolores Diaz, executive director of the Regional Task Force the Homeless that coordinates the count. Diaz said 1,788 volunteers came out to help at 68 count and survey sites throughout the county.

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The number of unsheltered homeless individuals this year was 5,621, up from 4,940 in 2016. The number of homeless persons found to be living in shelters this year was 3,495, down from 3,752 last year. There was also a 58-percent increase in handmade structures, such as tents and enclosures.

Veteran homelessness in San Diego County was down 9 percent from last year, and the unsheltered homeless veteran population has seen a 21-percent drop from 2016.

Homeless by the numbers in San Diego County:

Individuals breakdown

  • Men: 69 percent
  • Women: 29 percent
  • Transgender: 2 percent
  • Veterans: 8 percent
  • Chronically homeless individuals: 31 percent 
  • Self-reported mental health issue: 39 percent
  • Self-reported substance abuse issue: 20 percent

Regional breakdown

  • North County Coastal: 814 (9 percent)
  • North County Inland: 1,287 (14 percent)
  • City of San Diego: 5,619 (62 percent)
  • East County: 685 (7 percent)
  • South County: 711 (8 percent)

North County Coastal

  • Sheltered: 262
  • Unsheltered: 552
  • Percent change from 2016: - 7 percent

North County Inland

  • Sheltered: 651
  • Unsheltered: 636
  • Percent change from 2016: +11 percent

City of San Diego

  • Sheltered: 2,388
  • Unsheltered: 3,231
  • Percent change from 2016: + 10 percent

East County

  • Sheltered: 65
  • Unsheltered: 620
  • Percent change from 2016: + 3 percent

South County

  • Sheltered: 129
  • Unsheltered: 582
  • Percent change from 2016: - 21 percent

The next "Point-in-Time Count" is scheduled for Jan. 26, 2018. For information on how to volunteer, click here.

Mark Saunders is a 10News digital producer. Follow him on Twitter at @10NewsSaunders.

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