A homeless encampment on 8th Avenue in downtown on May 4, 2023.
A homeless encampment on 8th Avenue in downtown on May 4, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Unsheltered homelessness downtown and areas just outside it hit a new record last month per the latest Downtown San Diego Partnership census. The business group counted 1,958 unhoused people on April 27 – up a third from the same month last year.

It’s worth emphasizing: It has been a year since San Diego County had a month where the number of people falling into homelessness didn’t outpace the number moving into homes, per monthly data from the Regional Task Force on Homelessness.

As Lisa Halverstadt reported last year, San Diego Housing Commission data has shown nearly two thirds of shelter referrals by outreach workers and police in the city aren’t leading to a person accessing shelter in a typical week.

Also the Union-Tribune reports that as Chula Vista prepares to open its first homeless shelter, it’s facing a question many other cities face: “Should a shelter funded by a city allow only homeless residents who live within its jurisdiction to use it?”

It took the south bay city quite some time to open its shelter, as we wrote a couple weeks ago. But it’s set to open May 15. 

A Couple Went From on the Brink to on the Streets 

On Friday, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña put the finishing touches on her weekly column Cup of Chisme. She met a couple earlier that week who were on the brink of homelessness.

By Saturday, though, she had to update the story after receiving a text. 

“This is what I was afraid of happening and it has,” wrote Tami Grobarek. She and her partner have been living in their car with their two dogs for almost a year. 

Their car broke down on Saturday night, so the couple would not make it to the safe parking lot they go to in El Cajon. 

“We are on the side of the road as I’m writing this. We can’t leave the car here with bad tags. It will get towed. So we are officially on the street with our dogs,” Grobarek wrote.

Read more in Cup of Chisme. 

Politics Report: Whitburn to Stay Put 

Councilmembers Stephen Whitburn (right) and Joe Lacava (left) before discussing the proposed encampment ban ordinance on April 13, 2023.
Councilmembers Stephen Whitburn (right) and Joe Lacava (left) before discussing a proposed encampment ban ordinance on April 13, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

The Politics Report confirmed that San Diego Councilman Stephen Whitburn is not going anywhere. He plans to stay on the City Council. 

Background: For weeks, insiders saw Whitburn as the likeliest contender to fill County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher’s seat. He seemed to have a chance if there was an appointment or a special election.

But he’s not going anywhere. 

“That work to significantly decrease street homelessness is at a critical juncture right now, and I intend to see it through,” he said. 

Whitburn has a lot going on right now. The Politics Report gets into that and other updates. 

Read the Politics Report here. 

The insider’s guide to San Diego politics is available to Voice of San Diego members only. If you value our journalism, and want us to keep doing it, consider becoming a member. Click here to donate. 

VOSD Podcast: In the latest episode our hosts explain what to expect from the special election coming our way and how local leaders are preparing, or not, for the possible influx of migrants at our border. 

Later in the episode, education reporter Jakob McWhinney joins to talk about his latest story about big shake ups at San Diego Unified. 

Listen to the episode here or wherever you get your podcasts

In Other News 

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.  

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