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San Diego’s Homeless Population Third In Nation

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San Diego had the third largest homeless population of any American metropolitan area in 2012, surpassed only by New York City and Los Angeles.

— San Diego had the third largest homeless population of any American metropolitan area in 2012, surpassed only by New York City and Los Angeles. That’s the conclusion of a new report on homelessness by HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Ana Tintocalis/KPBS News

People lay on beds in the winter shelter in downtown San Diego.

San Diego County’s 10,013 homeless people were more than that found in many larger metro areas, including Seattle, Chicago and Houston. San Diego was also listed in the top five, among major cities, for its increase in the number of homeless people, compared with the previous year. Los Angeles, by comparison, had the nation’s largest decrease in homeless population.

The HUD study was based on annual counts of homeless populations and a “point-in-time” calculation: One day in January in which homeless shelter staff fanned out across metro areas and counted people in shelters and people on the street.

On that day in January, HUD reports there were 633,782 homeless people in the United States. One in five homeless Americans lived in California, giving it by far the nation’s largest homeless population.

The HUD report said people who are “chronically” homeless make up about 25 percent of San Diego’s homeless population. That figure is comparable to what’s found in many other metro areas.

The HUD report did give some reason for hope. Homelessness has decreased by nearly 6 percent over the past five years throughout the U.S.

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