Volunteers participated in the annual point-in-time count of San Diego County’s homeless populations after a two-year delay due to the pandemic.
The annual count is conducted by the Regional Task Force on Homelessness to provide a snapshot of people living on the street or in short-term shelters. The results are used to apply for federal and state funding to help people experiencing homelessness and find solutions for this population.
Volunteers who participated in this year's count were out a little before 4 a.m., offering socks and gift cards to those willing to participate throughout the region. Teams of volunteers would walk or drive the streets, parks, beaches, and valleys looking for people who are experiencing homelessness.
In San Diego County, the homeless count is completed annually, but a count did not take place in 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and this year’s count had to be pushed back for about a month due to the Omicron surge.
According to early results from the annual count, 85 percent became homeless while living in San Diego in 2022.
The previous in time count in 2020 showed there were 7,638 total homeless in San Diego county. In 2019, the number of total homeless was 8,102, according to the Regional Task Force on Homelessness.
These individuals included veterans, family members, victims of domestic violence, those with substance use disorders, HIV/AIDS patients, and the chronically homeless.
Mayor Todd Gloria, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, and Councilmembers Joe LaCava, Stephen Whitburn, and Marni von Wilpert volunteered in the count, along with local and state elected officials.
“We knew before this morning’s count and early data reporting that the current situation for those experiencing homelessness in downtown and throughout the region is unacceptable,” said Tamera Kohler, president and CEO of the regional task force.
“But what we are reminded of today is the unique situations and circumstances faced by each person experiencing homelessness. And our responsibility as a community to take immediate action to help,” she added.
Final results of statistics and demographic information will be reported by the Regional Task Force on Homelessness.