by Photo courtesy of San Diego County

More than a thousand volunteers gathered early Thursday morning throughout San Diego County to conduct the annual Point in Time count by engaging with individuals experiencing homelessness. 

Nearly 1,500 volunteers participated in the count, led by the Regional Task Force on Homelessness, to provide a snapshot of unsheltered San Diegans and those living in emergency shelters. According to county officials, the Point in Time count is required by the federal government to qualify for certain funds. 

According to Barbra Jiménez, the County’s Community Operations Officer, Department of Homeless Solutions, and Equitable communities, the annual Point In Time Count helps identify the unsheltered population in order to connect them with resources. 

“It’s also an opportunity for more County employees to interact with our neighbors experiencing homelessness,” Jimenez said

Volunteers across 36 different sites throughout the county began at 4 a.m. to split into teams to walk or drive around their designated areas looking for people living outside. 

In the 2022 count, the RTFH found that homelessness had grown by at least 10 percent since 2020, with volunteers finding 8,427 people experiencing homelessness across San Diego County, a minimum number.

That number included 4,106 unsheltered San Diegans, with 4,321 individuals in shelters. Of those surveyed, 85 percent said they had fallen into homelessness while living in the region.

According to RTFH CEO Tamera Kohler, between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021, more than 36,500 San Diegans interacted with homeless services, meaning the true number of San Diegans living without permanent housing could be far higher than what the count found.

The final count will not be available until this spring.  

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