A homeless man at an encampment near the San Diego Zoo on Park Boulevard on Sept. 15, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

It seems self explanatory that homelessness is a housing problem. They are people without housing. 

That sentence, though – “homelessness is a housing problem” – is a surprisingly controversial one. Many people seem committed to the idea that people living without shelter in the city either chose that life or have done something to deserve it. 

Mayor Todd Gloria will almost certainly say something like homelessness is a housing problem in his State of the City speech tonight. And he’ll be correct, writes Scott Lewis in a new commentary. But he’s not going far enough. 

Lewis talked to the author of a new book “Homelessness Is a Housing Problem” and pulled together data on how many jobs we’ve created in San Diego compared to homes. (It’s not pretty.) The region has not created homes at the same pace as jobs and it’s led to high home prices and rents. Other places have the same issues with drugs, mental illness and access to welfare and yet don’t have the same levels of homelessness. 

What’s different? It’s much more affordable to live there. 

But it’s not an excuse and the tragedy playing out in San Diego’s streets, parks and canyons is only getting worse. We should take the housing shortage as if it were a kind of catastrophe – a natural disaster that wiped out thousands of homes. How would we act if that happened?

Read Lewis’ full essay here.

Stormy San Diego 

A man takes a photo of the waves with his phone in Ocean Beach on Jan. 10, 2023.
A man takes a photo of the waves with his phone in Ocean Beach on Jan. 10, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Tuesday’s storm focused mostly on drenching northern San Diego County, the Union-Tribune reports. Palomar Mountain saw wind speeds hit 71 mph and Palomar recorded 3.6 inches of rain, but as the storm traveled south it was mostly light showers. NBC 7 reports that the surf will remain high through the rest of the week, but no rain until the weekend.

In Other News 

  • San Diego Gas & Electric is rolling out $1 million in grant funds to help some San Diegans struggling with surging gas and electric charges. (City News Service)
  • Something we don’t expect Mayor Todd Gloria to cheer about at tonight’s State of the City Address: The city’s pension bill is rising this year, giving the city less cash to spend on city services. (Union-Tribune)
  • Democrat Nora Vargas is now chair of the County Board of Supervisors. (Times of San Diego)
  • City Councilmembers said earlier this week that they’d like the city to hold off on an initial plan to seek bids in March for a hoped-for Civic Center Revitalization and to also prioritize homeless shelters as they work on the City Hall revamp. 
  • Seventeen candidates have applied to be appointed to an open seat on Chula Vista’s City Council. The seat became vacant after former city councilman Steve Padilla was elected to the state senate. The City Attorney post is also vacant, but will be filled during a special election in November. (FOX 5) 
  • City Clerk Liz Maland, one of the city’s most popular bureaucrats, is retiring effective Jan. 13. The City Council voted Tuesday to appoint Assistant City Clerk Diana Fuentes as the interim clerk after Maland’s departure. 

The Morning Report was written by Scott Lewis, Lisa Halverstadt and Will Huntsberry. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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