homeless surging san diego
homeless surging san diego

We’re coming at you with two interviews this week.

First up: Voice of San Diego’s intern darling, Jakob McWhinney, unleashed an authoritative piece on Awaken Church. He sat down to talk about it with VOSD host Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

On the show, McWhinney reviewed some of the historical highlights of the American Evangelical Christian movement and its political proclivities. Throughout the pandemic and the Trump presidency, this denomination, broadly speaking, has become highly activated — especially in San Diego.

Over the last few years, San Diego’s Awaken Church has swelled in size and influence — and become a nexus for anti-vaccine, anti-public health protocols. And it’s been a breeding ground for conspiracy theories.

You’ll hear that interview in the first half of the show.

Ya ya, Homelessness Is Bad. But… How Bad?

There are a few ways to slice this.

Voice reporter Lisa Halverstadt had the story this week that showed homelessness jumped 10 percent in two years. The San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness, which conducts this survey, stresses that is a minimum. It’s just a snapshot, not a full picture.

Separately, the group reported that 21,000 individuals accessed the task force’s services in a year’s time (October 2020 through September 2021). That’s enough people to comprise an American town.

A third big takeaway comes from looking back about five years and comparing that “people getting services” number. In 2017, the Task Force estimated about 10,000 people were accessing services — less than half of the current figure.

And think for a second: Back then, homelessness was already a crisis. (Remember Hepatitis A?)

On the pod this week, the task force’s CEO, Tamera Kohler called us up to talk about the numbers, the caveats, the context, and what the region’s near-future may be on the homelessness front.

We’ve got a full transcript of that interview here with some back-and-forth edited out of the podcast.

The interview between Keatts and Kohler starts around minute 19.

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Nate John

Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at nate@vosd.org.

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