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KPBS Midday Edition

City homeless outreach workers underpaid, new study finds

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Carlos Castillo
San Diego Rescue Mission Outreach Coordinator Carla Vanegas visits with homeless Little Italy "regular" Robert and his dog Jolee in Little Italy on December 7, 2021

Homeless service workers on the frontlines have been heralded as heroes by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. But a new study has found the city pays them wages that are below what is considered a living wage, as calculated by MIT’s cost-of-livingcalculator.

The study was commissioned by the city. It looked at the pay rate for homeless outreach workers in San Diego and other high cost-of-living cities. San Diego ranked 14 out of 18, with homeless services workers making about 60% of $75,705 necessary to cover basic expenses.

Investigative journalist Kelly Davis joined Midday Edition Thursday to talk about the results of this new study, and what the city plans to do with this information.