San Diego County’s Homelessness Epidemic
San Diego County has one of the nations’ fastest growing populations and a rapidly escalating homeless epidemic. The increase in the homeless population in the county has been attributed to many reasons — the county’s temperate climate; availability of advocacy programs, including the regional headquarters for homeless services; the approval of the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative (Prop. 47); and a shortage of affordable housing.
The San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless conducts a yearly Point-In-Time Count of the county’s homeless including unsheltered (those living on the streets, in automobiles, abandoned buildings) and sheltered (those living in private or public temporary housing).
The most recent count completed in January 2018 concluded that:
- 8,576 homeless countywide, both sheltered and unsheltered
- More than 4,990 people living on the street unsheltered
- Over 1,300 homeless veterans in the county, up 24% from 2017
- San Diego has only 42 beds for every 100 homeless persons
- The homeless population in San Diego city and county is the fourth largest in the country
According to this same study, 43% of people interviewed indicate they have chronic mental and physical health problems. The Hepatitis A outbreak in 2017 exacerbated the medical conditions of our homeless neighbors. Lack of access to public sanitation facilities and poor vaccination history led to a rapid spread of the disease amongst the homeless. Almost 600 people were infected countywide with 20 people succumbing to the disease.
Homelessness is San Diego’s number-one social service issue right now, and you can help.
No matter the reasons why our community’s homeless population is an epidemic, we believe it is our responsibility to share our luck and help our most vulnerable neighbors.