Dallin Mifflin walks with his dog Lita at La Posada de Guadalupe shelter in Carlsbad on Dec. 13, 2022.
Dallin Mifflin walks with his dog Lita at La Posada de Guadalupe shelter in Carlsbad on Dec. 13, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

San Diego County officials are prepared to release the region’s annual homeless census in a few weeks, and homeless service providers in North County anticipate an increase in the area’s homeless population after registering an increase in people seeking shelter and services.  

For years though, the number of homeless shelters in North San Diego County has remained the same. 

For roughly six years, there have only been three homeless shelters in North County – two of them are low-barrier, which means they don’t require things like sobriety or background checks to enter. The other is a higher-barrier shelter for women and families.  

In total, they provide 144 beds. 

That’s compared to at least 787 homeless people in North County, according to last year’s federally mandated count. The director of the Regional Homelessness Task Force, which conducts the count, has stressed it should be viewed strictly as a minimum. 

Oceanside has the largest unsheltered homeless population in North County and is just now working on opening its first homeless shelter. 

Service providers say they need more funding to ramp up shelter production. 

That’s because shelters don’t just provide a bed and a hot meal, they also provide case management, trauma-informed care, mental health services and more, Greg Anglea, CEO of nonprofit Interfaith Community Services, told Voice of San Diego earlier this year

Anglea has urged North County cities to better prioritize homelessness in their budgets to help service providers keep up with growing homelessness. 

Two new shelters, including the one coming to Oceanside, are expected to open this summer, and one existing shelter is expanding significantly, but those expansions are primarily funded by the service providers that run each shelter. 

Interfaith, which operates one of North County’s three existing shelters, is opening a family shelter in July. 

Anglea said the county covered about 75 percent of the renovation costs for the upcoming family shelter, leaving Interfaith to raise money for shelter operations, which will cost about $1 million per year.  

Similarly, renovations for the upcoming Oceanside shelter were funded by the city of Oceanside, along with county and federal funds. But yearly operations costs, which will be about $1 million per year, will be covered by the San Diego Rescue Mission. 

In Carlsbad, La Posada de Guadalupe, a historically men-only homeless shelter operated by Catholic Charities, is moving forward with an expansion that will double its capacity and start sheltering women and children. 

Catholic Charities CEO Appaswamy “Vino” Pajanor said the expansion will cost a total of about $12 million. They’ve received a total of about $5 million from the city of Carlsbad, the county and the state, but it will be up to them to raise the rest of the money.  

The New Shelters 

  • Oceanside’s navigation center will be a 50-bed low-barrier homeless shelter in the former Ocean Shores High School building. It’s expected to open by the end of July or early August. 
  • Interfaith’s family shelter will be a low-barrier 36-bed shelter for homeless families and is expected to open in July. The only other family shelter in North County is Operation Hope, a higher-barrier shelter serving women and families in Vista. Operation Hope is currently at capacity and has a waiting list.  
  • La Posada de Guadalupe in Carlsbad currently provides 50 beds for farmworkers and 50 beds for adult homeless men. Catholic Charities plans to expand the shelter by adding 99 more beds, 45 of which will be reserved for homeless women and children. Construction could begin as early as spring 2024. 

In Other News 

  • ICYMI: Escondido mayor Dane White overcame homelessness and addiction. Now, he hopes to bolster the city’s response to homelessness by creating increased access to shelters and addiction treatment programs. (Voice of San Diego) 
  • Hundreds of high school students at Sage Creek and Carlsbad high schools walked out of classes Tuesday morning in protest of the Carlsbad Unified School District board and the Carlsbad City Council after both bodies decided not to display the Pride flag. Students are also demanding the resignation of Carlsbad High School Vice Principal Ethan Williams who allegedly made anti-LGBTQ comments to members of his church. (Union-Tribune) 
  • The federal Surface Transportation Board has declined to weigh in on the Del Mar fencing issue. The board was asked to rule on whether or not the North County Transit District has authority over bluff stabilization projects and its proposed safety fence along the train tracks in Del Mar. But the board said it will wait for a pending lawsuit against NCTD by a group of Del Mar residents to be addressed. (Union-Tribune) 

Tigist Layne is Voice of San Diego's north county reporter. Contact her directly at tigist.layne@voiceofsandiego.org or (619) 800-8453. Follow her...

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