East Village resident sees homeless improvement

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A trip to San Diego's East Village shows a visual improvement in homeless camps on the street since the shelters opened this spring, but there is still more work to be done.

In September, tents covered the sidewalk on 17th Street. 10News reporter Laura Acevedo visited the area Wednesday and spoke with East Village resident Crystal Rygersberg.

“It’s clean, there’s no debris, there’s no garbage. Everyone has moved,” Rygersberg said. “All the tents are gone, all the clutter’s gone and it’s definitely not as scary.”

Photos show the difference between September 2017 and June 2018.

Before:

After:

Rygersberg described the homeless situation as ‘out of control’ during the height of the hepatitis A epidemic last year. Since then, the city has opened three bridge shelters.

A report by the San Diego Housing Commission shows from December 2017 to March 2018, 946 people have exited the three tents. Out of that, only 94 people have been placed into permanent housing. Mayor Kevin Falconer’s goal is to bridge 65 percent of the homeless into permanent housing.

In a scientific 10News/San Diego Union-Tribune poll, 800 San Diegans who were surveyed said the city's homeless efforts were not enough. When asked who is most responsible for reducing homelessness, 53 percent said elected officials and 18 percent pointed to the homeless and their families.

In May, the mayor’s office defended the shelters, saying the early numbers were promising. The City of San Diego is undergoing a third-party analysis to help make adjustments to the operation and management of the shelters in hopes of helping even more people.

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