SAN DIEGO — The number of unsheltered people living in Downtown San Diego continues to grow.
A new study on Dec. 29, 2022, from the non-profit Downtown San Diego Partnership, shows 1,839 people living without shelter downtown whether it’s on the sidewalks or in cars.
Advocates said more is needed to address all areas in which people need support in.
“We have to start acting with a sense of urgency,” said Michael McConnell, a homeless advocate.
The number has increased from November 2022, which recorded 1,706 unsheltered people living downtown.
“I think this is just the beginning, and I think people should expect much higher numbers, I see no slowing down,” McConnell said.
The count covers the East Village, Gaslamp Quarter, City Center, Colombia, Marina and Cortez neighborhoods.
McConnell said San Diego is in a tough spot with the cost of everything going up, low vacancies and high rent.
“All of this impacts folks who are on the edge, or just on the brink of homelessness, and these things are going to keep pushing more and more and more people out onto our streets or into their cars,” McConnell explained. “Until all of those factors that cause homeless stop, we are not going to see homelessness stop.”
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s office told FOX 5, that homelessness is the mayor’s top priority.
The office said its programs of street outreach, temporary shelters, housing, mental illness and drug abuse treatments are working and helping hundreds of people, but not fast enough to keep up with the rising cost of housing.
Because of this, the mayor’s office said for every person that is put in permanent housing, more become homeless.
“There’s no one thing that caused everybody’s homelessness and there’s no one thing that is going to fix everybody’s homelessness either. So, it’s a wide variety of solutions,” McConnell said. “Not everybody wants to live the same way, and so we need to start providing a lot more of that.”
The mayor’s office added that in the past year and a half, shelter capacity has increased by 40 percent.
And during the last fiscal year, they housed around 1,300 people through city programs.