Homelessness drops in San Diego County

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) — San Diego County’s homeless population dropped 6% from 2019 according to figures released Tuesday by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless.

The point-in-time count conducted Jan 23-25 determined there were 7,619 people in San Diego County, 3,971 unsheltered and 3,648 sheltered. The unsheltered population includes 17% who are chronically homeless, 8% who are youth and 8% who are veterans.

There was a 12% reduction in the number of unsheltered homeless people in San Diego.

The number of sheltered homeless people increased 5% which Mayor Kevin Faulconer said was a positive sign, as it indicates more people are receiving services needed “to help end the cycle of homelessness.”

Total homeless dropped 4% in San Diego.

Faulconer called on more landlords to take part in the Landlord Engagement and Assistance Program, which provides financial incentives to landlords for housing homeless individuals in available units.

Faulconer said 27 landlords have signed up for the program since the city requested help last week.

“I know there’s a lot of landlords who could use the steady, guaranteed rent payments that come with housing homeless individuals,” Faulconer said at afternoon news conference.

The program’s landlord incentives include up to $500 for the first unit rented to a homeless family or individual and $250 for each additional unit, Faulconer said.

Landlords will also receive up to two times the contract rent in security deposits, an average of $100 in utility assistance per household and a contingency fund to cover expenses that exceed the security deposits.

“Since the count and in response to COVID-19, hundreds more who were living on the streets have found shelter in the San Diego Convention Center and we enacted an eviction moratorium to help prevent folks from losing their home in the first place,” Faulconer said.

“We will keep working day and night to overcome this pandemic and help even more people find shelter and housing in the process.

Data from the count has been used to aid in the COVID-19 response, according to San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward, the task force’s chair.

Nearly 1,800 volunteers including 500 county employees took part in the count, known as WeAllCount,

“The information gathered during this annual count is critical in our fight to tackle homelessness in San Diego County,” said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, vice chair of the task force.

“With this data we can secure more funding to support our homeless outreach strategies and deliver critical mental health, substance abuse and housing services to people living in our region without shelter.”

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