A sign that reads "Housing Not Handcuffs, Help Humans" propped in front of an encampment on the corner of Commercial and 17th Street in the East Village on May 23, 2023.
A sign that reads "Housing Not Handcuffs, Help Humans" propped in front of an encampment on the corner of Commercial and 17th Street in the East Village on May 23, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

The new point-in-time count numbers are in. The annual homeless census showed a record surge in homelessness, reaching its highest point in 12 years.

On the podcast this week, hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña reviewed the new data and particularly distressing increases among the senior population and in chronic homelessness.

We also have a story this week about the old data: According to a report by our Will Huntsberry, before the 2023 figures came out, the regional census (while an imperfect system of measure) actually showed a 10-year decline. Meanwhile homelessness has become more visible, and tragic, than ever.

These stories all come ahead of a highly-anticipated vote next week that aims to transform homelessness in the city of San Diego, further enforcing San Diego’s ban on street camping while pushing residents toward shelters and safe camping sites.

Our Lisa Halverstadt has done extensive reporting on that proposed ordinance — who it could affect, where it would pinch residents and what it could mean. Read all about it here.

Water Politics Is Boiling

Two north county communities want to leave the San Diego County Water Authority. It’s a controversial decision that would have wide-reaching effects.

This is happening as a bill in the state Assembly (AB 530 by Rep Tasha Boerner Horvath) would make it harder for local water districts to leave.

The water districts — Rainbow Municipal Water District and Fallbrook Public Utility District — are trying to ditch the San Diego County Water Authority for cheaper water from Eastern Municipal Water District in Riverside County.

Decision went to political boundary referees at the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). But it’s been stalled by a Los Angeles water bigwig.

On the pod, Lewis breaks down how we got here — starting all the way back when civilizations gathered ’round wells and split our most precious resource — to now, when musty conference rooms are where water’s fate is sealed.

Listen Now

Listen: Apple | Spotify | Google | PodLink

P.S. I’ll miss you, Andy.

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.

Join the Conversation


  1. Andy’s right. The homelessness headcount indicates that despite San Diego spending millions in taxpayer dollars, the problem is only getting worse. One key problem is that the simple headcount doesn’t get at why the numbers keep going up.

    I believe that whenever the mayor and city council upzone property across most of the city, they give housing developers more incentive to go into older established neighborhoods, buy up affordable housing, demolish it, and build expensive new market rate apartment blocks and condo buildings. As an unescapable element of that process, the occupants and tenants of those homes are being evicted. Some, if not many of them end up out on the street or living in our parks and river valleys. Some of them are dying, but others are causing the city’s homelessness numbers to keep spiking.

    If that is correct, the more city hall politicians keep upzoning properties all over the city, the more they are driving the skyrocketing homeless population. Just trying to find ways to deal with homeless people after they’ve been evicted is just wasting huge amounts of tax money trying to address the problem without getting at and addressing its root causes.

  2. Nobody is getting evicted and ending up in a tent. Nobody. Not one person. If this person existed, VOSD would interview them all day every day. Everything you have written is essentially fantasy.

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