HOME outreach worker Earl Childress and a volunteer study a map of the La Mesa census tracts they were assigned to survey for the annual count of individual’s living on the street during the early morning hours of February 24, 2022. The count, usually performed annually, was the first since 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. / Photo by Jakob McWhinney

New strategies and outreach programs intended to help homeless San Diegans get off the streets have popped up across the county. But without available housing units, advocates worry that outreach is just an elaborate game of moving people around

Earlier this week, Voice of San Diego reported on a new program in La Mesa that sends outreach workers, not cops, to interface with individuals experiencing homelessness. Workers spend their days providing direct aid and assistance to individuals on the street and help connect them with resources like shelters and mental health care.

But advocates say that’s only one piece of the puzzle.

“Outreach can only be as effective as the housing resources that are available to them,” said Barbara Poppe, an adviser on homeless services and affordable housing, and former executive director of the United States’ Interagency Council on Homelessness.

In a new story, our Jakob McWhinney writes about the inextricable link between a lack of housing options and homelessness and efforts to address the issue.

Desmond Talks Housing, Homelessness in State of North County Address

Supervisor Jim Desmond delivered the State of North County address Wednesday, highlighting recent advances in behavioral health services and the region’s contributions to agriculture and tourism. He noted that there’s a lot of work to be done in areas like homelessness and affordable housing.

Desmond, who represents District 5 and is up for re-election this year, said society overall should be ashamed of the number of people living on streets, and that easing the crisis requires the state, county, cities and organizations to work together.

During his address, he praised the Crisis Stabilization Units opening in North County, as well as the homelessness outreach organizations that have helped homeless individuals throughout the region.

Desmond also said he “would never vote to defund the police,” referring to recent criticism of law enforcement in the county and nationwide. He added that, though there are some bad apples, the field generally doesn’t deserve as much criticism.

Want more North County news? Get the latest updates with our free North County Report.

In Other News

  • A new SANDAG report shows that while crime rates are at historic lows for the region, violent and property crimes were up last year, according to City News Service. In 2021, Jesse Marx spoke with experts and community organizers, who attributed the recent increases to the pandemic and mistrust of law enforcement. 
  • State inspectors say San Diego County probation officers have been violating regulations by locking youth in their detention center rooms for unnecessarily long periods of time. In response, county officials have agreed to improve their practices. (inewsource) 
  • Despite increases to interest rates, San Diego’s real estate market continues to soar. The average home price is now $805,000. (Union-Tribune) 

This Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney, Megan Wood, Tigist Layne and Will Hunstberry.

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