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San Diego’s latest homeless census shows homelessness has spiked 10 percent countywide since 2020. The count also documented increases in street homelessness in cities including San Diego, Oceanside and National City.
This year’s point-in-time count, conducted in late February, offers a snapshot of the humanitarian crisis. The census overseen by the Regional Task Force on Homelessness represents what the organization’s CEO describes as a “minimum” tally of homeless residents rather than a comprehensive view of the region’s homeless population.
The 2022 results come months after volunteers tallied people that they encountered living on the streets, in vehicles or in canyons while the Task Force checked in with homeless-serving programs to learn how many homeless residents were staying indoors.
This was the first year since 2020 that Task Force conducted its unsheltered count. And that count suggests the situation in each subregion is not following the same trajectory.
San Diego’s overall homeless population, including both sheltered and unsheltered residents, increased 10 percent since 2020 – the last time the Task Force counted the region’s sheltered and unsheltered populations. The change in the unsheltered population, though, has not followed the same trajectory in each subregion.
The North County Coastal area had the largest percentage increase of its unsheltered population, though from a considerably lower starting point than the city of San Diego.
Nonetheless, its unsheltered population is now the second largest in the county, at least as of late February when the Task Force conducted its census, surpassing both the North County Inland and East County areas since the last unsheltered count, just before the pandemic in 2020.
What stands out more, though, is how much the increase in the county’s unsheltered population is just an increase in the city’s unsheltered population.
Countywide, the number of unsheltered people counted during the point-in-time count this year grew by 135 over 2020.
In the city alone, that number increased by 211 people.
That means the number of unsheltered San Diegans outside the city of San Diego actually decreased since 2020, according to the latest point-in-time count, while it increased by 9 percent in the city.