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Homeless Census Begins In SD

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Video published January 28, 2011 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: For two weeks in January, volunteers across the nation fan out to count the homeless population. Early this morning in San Diego County, 500 people took to the streets to conduct the homeless census.

For two weeks in January, volunteers across the nation fan out to count the homeless population. Early this morning in San Diego County, 500 people took to the streets to conduct the homeless census.

Guest

KPBS Reporter Joanne Faryon

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

FOR TWO WEEKS IN JANUARY VOLUNTEERS FAN OUT TO COUNT THE HOMELESS POPULATION. THIS MORNING IN SAN DIEGO 500 PEOPLE TOOK TO THE STREET. REPORTER JOAN JOINED THE VOLUNTEERS. SHE IS WITH US NOW. TELL US ABOUT THE VOLUNTEERS.

THEY HAVE INTERESTING STORIES. WE MET ONE WOMAN, SHE IS A PROFESSOR AT POINT LOMA AND SHE IS INVOLVED BECAUSE THIS IS HER AREA OF BURKE AND HER HUSBAND WAS HOMELESS WHEN SHE MET HIM. A LOT AT STEAK. WE MET ANOTHER VOLUNTEER AND SHE WAS A LAWYER IN LOS ANGELES. SAW HOMELESS PEOPLE SLEEPING ON THE BEACH NEAR HER HOUSE AND DECIDED TO GET INVOLVED. IT ALL STARTED WITH GIVING SOMEONE A BLANKET.

THESE ARE PERSONAL EXPERIENCES. HOW DID YOU COUNT, HOW DID IT HAPPEN?

IT'S INTERESTING. I IMAGINE THEY WOULD GO OUT, THE VOLUNTEERS WOULD GO OUT AND SPEAK WITH HOMELESS PEOPLE. THEY DIDN'T. THEY OBSERVED. THEY ARE TRAINED TO IDENTIFY VANS, CARS, TENTS, WHEREVER THEY THINK A HOMELESS PERSON MIGHT BE SLEEPING.

WHEN YOU DID FIND SOMEBODY, WHO DID THEY FIND? A TYPICAL HOMELESS PERSON?

WE SPENT A COUPLE HOURS OUT THERE. WE CAME ACROSS A MAN WHO WASN'T INCLUDED BUT WHO IS HOMELESS. WE MET ANOTHER MAN, AND WE HAVE TAPE OF THEM AND THEY TELL YOU WHO THEY ARE. HERE THEY ARE NOW.

Reporter: WHERE DID YOU SLEEP LAST NIGHT?

SIDEWALK?

NO. BACK OF MY FRIEND'S HOUSE. YOU KNOW, THAT WAY I DON'T GET NO TICKETS.

Reporter: DO YOU SLEEP IN YOUR CAR?

I DON'T HAVE A CAR. I SLEEP IN THE BACKYARD IN THE COUCH.

Reporter: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITHOUT A HOME?

WOW, PROBABLY A GOOD FIVE YEARS.

Reporter: JOHN, CAN YOU TELL ME WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW? NOT THE STREET, BEHIND YOU, WHAT WE ARE SEEING?

MY HOME.

Reporter: AND DESCRIBE YOUR HOME. WHAT IS YOUR HOME?

DESCRIBE MY HOME, MY HOME IS MY VAN.

Reporter: HOW LONG HAS YOUR HOME BEEN YOUR VAN?

TWO MONTHS.

Reporter: WHY?

BECAUSE I AM USUALLY ON THE STREETS.

PEGGY, THESE ARE JUST TWO MEN, YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY THOUSANDS OF OTHER STORIES. THE COUNT TOOK PLACE THIS MORNING. IT IS EXPECTED NEXT WEEK, THE TASK FORCE IN CHARGE OF THIS WILL RELEASE THE FINAL COUNT.

WITH THIS COUNT, THERE IS A LOT RIDING ON IT. THERE IS MONEY FOR THE COUNTY.

THE COUNT HAS TO TAKE PLACE BECAUSE THIS IS HOW THE GOVERNMENT DETERMINES HOW MUCH MONEY TO GIVE COUNTIES FOR HOUSING, OTHER SOCIAL WELFARE PROGRAMS. LAST YEAR THE COUNTY RECEIVED $15 MILLION. BASED ON THIS COUNT THE GOVERNMENT WILL DIVVY UP THE MONEY THIS YEAR.

ALSO, IS THERE A ROUGH ESTIMATE? WE KIND OF KNOW OR DO WE?

WE KNOW THAT LAST YEAR THE TASK FORCE ON HOMELESSNESS ESTIMATED THAT 10,000 PEOPLE IN THE COUNTY EXPERIENCED HOMELESSNESS AT LEAST ONE. MEN, WOMEN AND FAMILIES AS WELL.

THANK YOU FOR THIS. GO HOME AND GET SOME SLEEP.

4:00 THIS MORNING.

ALL RIGHT. THANKS A LOT.

THANKS, PEGGY.

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