SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — New data was released Thursday by San Diego's Regional Task Force on homelessness, and it’s the first time in two years that a count has been done on the city's homeless population.
Since January of 2020, there has been a 10% increase in homelessness in the county. Mayor Todd Gloria says you see it when you drive or walk around the streets of the City of San Diego and San Diego County. He also says the focus now is not on how people got there but on putting all of his efforts towards getting them into shelters.
According to this point in time count, there are at a minimum roughly 8,427 individuals experiencing homelessness across San Diego County with a little more than half living in shelters.
“I also remain optimistic because this is one day count and it is not representing the entirety of the situation," said Mayor Gloria.
"Frankly, the numbers could have been a lot worse."
However, Mayor Gloria affirms the findings that 85% of the individuals surveyed say they fell into homelessness right here in San Diego.
The count does show positive statistics with a 30% decrease in the veteran homeless population and a seven percent decrease in the chronic homelessness population…
The CEO of PATH, an organization dedicated to ending homelessness, released a statement saying in part "programs like path’s outreach, street-based case management, and veteran-focused programs do work in moving people off the streets, into interim housing, and into a permanent home with vital supportive services."
Yet, there are still challenges. Just this year, the report points to an increase in families experiencing homelessness up 56% from 2020.
“When you are talking about families, I think you are talking about economic homelessness, and that means people who may actually have a paycheck but can’t find a place they can afford to live," said Gloria.
The report also shares that more Black San Diegans, the elderly, and individuals with physical disabilities are finding themselves on the street. The mayor says he's been trying to move as many as possible to shelters.
Since the last study, the city has made efforts in expanding housing opportunities, one of which is the 125-bed shelter set to open this year on Rosecrans Street.
Moving forward, the mayor has proposed a more than half a million dollar revision to the budget o support a homeless conservatorship and treatment unit that hopes to connect homeless individuals to medical treatment and housing.
“We are trying to break the status quo on this issue. San Diegans rightly see the problem getting worse…we have to get innovative and advance them.”
And Father Joes Villages shared a statement saying in part "it’s disappointing and alarming to see such a significant increase from 2020, as well as a 3% increase in the total count of unsheltered individuals.”
They vow to continue advocating for more expansive care.