"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.
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:
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
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
Percent change from 2016: - 7 percent
North County Inland
Percent change from 2016: +11 percent
City of San Diego
Percent change from 2016: + 10 percent
Percent change from 2016: + 3 percent
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.