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Homeless Census Finds Fewer People Without Permanent Shelter

— This year's homeless count came together on a rainy February morning with some 900 volunteers scouring the county. The homeless count was nearly 8 percent less than last year's census.

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Volunteers Barbara Palan and Shannon Quigley-Raymond help out in San Diego's 2013 homeless census.

San Diego County's homeless population dropped to fewer than 9,000 in this year's one day count.

The number could be lower because of the rain or because people are getting off the street.

"We take our best effort at counting the homeless that are sheltered. And we get out there and comb 605 census tracts and take our best stab at it with volunteers, but it is just an estimate," said Delores Diaz, executive director of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless.

Volunteers found about 8,900 people during the count. Fewer than half were in local homeless shelters. Three-fourths were men. 70 percent had been homeless a year or longer.

The homeless point-in-time count is important because it is part of the federal formula for doling out aid for homeless programs. Diaz said funding it is unlikely that funding will decline just because the number is down from last year.

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