San Diego County has fourth largest homeless population in US, report says

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County has the fourth largest population of homeless people in the United States, according to a government report released Wednesday.

The San Diego region’s total of 9,160 homeless people was behind only New York City, Los Angeles County and King County in Washington, which includes Seattle, according to the 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

However the San Diego total was far behind the top two. HUD reported that 76,501 people were homeless in New York City, and 55,188 in Los Angeles County.

While San Diego has grappled with a rapidly growing homeless problem over the past year or so, the rest of the country has experienced the same thing.

According to the report, overall homelessness increased nationwide this year for the first time in seven years, by a little under 1 percent compared to 2016. However, the county of unsheltered homeless jumped 9 percent.

On a given night across the country, 553,742 people were homeless, with nearly two-thirds housed in shelters or transitional housing programs and one- third living on the streets, according to the report.

The number of homeless veterans rose 2 percent, but that category is down 45 percent since 2009.

The number of homeless involving families with children fell by 5 percent.

According to the report, San Diego County ranked:

— 10th nationally with 1,589 members of homeless families with children;

— fourth in percentage of homeless consisting of family members at over 18 percent;

— seventh in unaccompanied homeless youth, ages 18-24, with 1,160;

— third with 1,067 homeless veterans; and

— fifth with 2,088 people considered chronically homeless.

California had 134,278 homeless people, and while the Golden State has the nation’s largest population, the rate of 34 homeless residents per 10,000 people was twice the national average, according to the report. Of those, 68 percent were living on the streets, by far the worst percentage.

The report said half the nation’s homeless lived in California, New York, Florida, Texas or Washington.