The Point-in-Time Count found that the number of unsheltered homeless individuals in San Diego County was 3,626 and the number of homeless individuals in shelters was 4,476. Ten percent of the homeless population are veterans, 36 percent reported having a physical disability, 12 percent of the total population are under the age of 24, and 3 percent are families with at least one child.
The Point-In-Time-Count, or more commonly known as WeAllCount, started in the early morning hours on Friday, Jan. 25 with more than 1,500 volunteers and outreach workers across the region utilizing a strengthened methodology, focused on engaging the homeless population directly, with one-on-one conversations guided by informed questions, wherever they might be experiencing homelessness.
The Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH) is charged with completing this important annual count that is critical in securing federal funding for needed housing and services.
“We have leveraged the capacity and resources of the Regional Task Force as an expert on homelessness to deliver an accurate and verifiable count that has already improved our understanding of this vulnerable population,” said Councilmember Chris Ward, who chairs the RTFH.
“The improved methods used focus on direct, consistent engagement with homeless San Diegans and align us with nationally recognized best-practices. This improved outreach methodology sets the tone for formalizing and standardizing a qualified outreach protocol for use throughout the county,” Ward said.
In 2017, the Regional Task Force on the Homeless and the local Continuum of Care (CoC) formally merged into one organization focused on a singular goal: to end chronic homelessness in the San Diego region. Since then, the RTFH has positioned itself as a resource for local governments and stakeholders, ready to provide data and insight, inform policy, and coordinate resources to strengthen our region’s collective impact on homelessness.
“The County of San Diego works collaboratively with local governments and our community partners, to connect people experiencing homelessness with resources that put them on a path to a healthier, more stable life,” said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, board member of the RTFH. “Now that we have a clearer, more precise picture of the individuals’ needs, we are going to be able to establish the right mix of services and programs to those experiencing homelessness.”
“I want to thank all the volunteers who turned out for this count in San Diego,” said Tamera Kohler, CEO of the RTFH. “Homelessness is a complex issue but efforts to collect information directly from San Diegans experiencing homelessness will provide the precise, actionable information needed to better set polices, direct funding, and inform the public.
“I look forward to improving the data we receive from the annual PITC and will continue to engage with local governments to strengthen our regions collective response to homelessness,” Kohler said.
The count is now focused on engaging homeless San Diegans who spend the night in conditions considered unsheltered: park benches, sidewalks, tents, and vehicles. In the past, vehicles and tents were counted and then an assumption was made that each held two people.
This year, volunteers included in the count the actual number of people sleeping in vehicles or tents who were engaged or visibly seen by volunteers and staff. This specific change improves the accuracy of the count and coupled with the wider reach of interactions, will help agencies better serve this population.
“Continuum of Cares across Southern California have updated the methodology used to count their respective homeless populations,” said Joe Colletti, chief executive officer of Hub for Urban Initiatives. “Of the 13 Southern California CoCs, only Los Angeles uses a multiplier to count homeless persons in vehicles and structures. “The RTFH has chosen to follow HUD guidelines and only count individuals in vehicles or structures that are visible and can verbally confirm their situations, leading to more precise results.”