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Spring census count along San Diego River hopes to help both the people and environment

Census count of people living along the San Diego River
Posted at 9:21 AM, Apr 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-05 12:21:34-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Volunteers and members of the San Diego River Park Foundation on Friday headed out for the second day of the organization’s spring census count to figure out how many people are living along the riverbed.

The census is a four-day effort, with the tallying of people taking place from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. The schedule is as follows:

  • Thursday, April 4: Grantville
  • Friday, April 5: Eastern Mission Valley
  • Saturday, April 6: East County
  • Sunday, April 7: Western Mission Valley

By counting how many people are living along the riverbed and learning how they got there, the foundation hopes to connect homeless outreach groups with that community and help them get into stable housing.
The San Diego River Park Foundation is primarily focused on the environmental needs of the riverbed, but the people experiencing homelessness along the riverbed cannot be ignored.

San Diego City Councilman Stephen Whitburn represents District 3 communities, including Mission Valley. He said, “There’s been people living here for many years. In some cases, it's because they want to get away from it all, they feel safer. They feel more secure here when they’re apart from everything else, but it has real impacts on the riverbed environmentally, and it’s also dangerous for the people living in the riverbed."

Sarah Hutmacher, CEO of the San Diego River Park Foundation, said the weather has presented some challenges to getting an accurate count.

"Whenever we get a lot of rain, folks have to find a place to get some cover this time of year," Hutmacher said. "We’ve also seen a lot of flooding in the riverbed where people are forced to move to higher ground, so these counts are really important because it helps us get a better understanding of where people move when there is weather."

The census aims to find sustainable solutions for both the riverbed's environment and the people living along the riverbed.

The foundation is always looking for volunteers, so to help this coming weekend visit