San Diego Advocates Respond To Increase In First-Time Homelessness Increase
Monday, April 26, 2021
Photo by Roland Lizarondo
The Data and Performance Analysis of the region’s Homelessness Crisis Response System for 2020 prepared by The Regional Task Force on the Homeless shows the number of people entering homelessness for the first time nearly doubled from 2,326 in 2019 to 4,152 in 2020, with a spike between April and June.
The report says this is likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Michael McConnell, a homeless advocate, thinks this number is higher for another reason.
“The increase in touch points. So if you put more outreach people if you have more day centers or more shelters, things like that, you’re going to connect with more people,” McConnell said.
When the San Diego Convention Center opened for temporary housing during the pandemic, city officials boasted about the number of homeless people served.
McConnell believed the homeless were more open to participating in this program because "when you lower the barriers, when you make it more appealing to somebody then you are going to get people who are more likely to use your system.”
The report also found in 2020, 2,530 veterans were in a shelter or had been on the street.
Mia Roseberry co-founder of Wounded Warrior Homes knows the need for veterans and even active duty military has grown.
“The veterans will never ask for help. They feel that if they ask for help they are taking it from other people, so they don’t like to ask for help," Roseberry said.
With the report, San Diego County is showing more transparency about the current homeless situation.
Increased funding from the federal government through the CARES Act, state funds, and philanthropic funding are continuing to provide new resources for shelter and other assistance during the pandemic.
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