Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

New Homeless Population Almost Doubles In 2020

 April 27, 2021 at 4:48 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Tuesday, April 27th >>>> The first-time homeless population almost doubles. We’ll have more on that next, but first... let’s do the headlines…. ###### Data from the 2020 census released on Monday reveals that -- California’s population growth has stalled. As a result the state is losing ONE seat in the US House of Representatives.. California's population grew by about 2.3 million people since the 2010 Census but it’s been stagnant since 2017. States that were out-growing California included Arizona, Florida and Texas. Texas gained two seats while Florida gained one. ######## San Diego county has officially resumed use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Dr. christian ramers with family health centers of san diego says vaccine supply still hasn’t been keeping up with the demand but now, that could change. well i have to say i think we’re really getting close i heard over the weekend used to be there were thousands of arms searching for hundreds of vaccines now we have thousands of arms searching for thousands of vaccines so it’s almost like we’re right at that tipping point The j & j vaccine doesn't require a deep freeze and it’s just one dose as opposed to two. ######## It looks like scattered showers again today and cool temperatures. April showers bring May flowers, right? There will be some gusty winds in the deserts, but that will blow out by the afternoon. ######### From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. The latest report on homelessness in San Diego showed a huge increase in the area’s new homeless population in 2020. KPBS’ Melissa Mae reports. The report from 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 and peaked from April through June 2020 with 4,152. 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. Michael McConnell, Homeless Advocate (:09) “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.” When the San Diego Convention Center opened for temporary housing during the pandemic, city officials boasted about the number of homeless people served. McConnell said the homeless were more open to participating in this program. Michael McConnell Interview (:07) "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 2,530 veterans were in a shelter or had been on the street. Mia Rosebery co-founder of Wounded Warrior Homes knows the need for veterans and even active duty military has grown. Mia Roseberry, Co-Founder of Wounded Warrior Homes (:07) “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. With the report, San Diego County is showing more transparency about the current homeless situation. Mia Roseberry (:05) “Keep supporting those who are trying to support the less fortunate and the people who need the help.” 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. And that was KPBS’ Melissa Mae. ########## Following a shooting last week in downtown San Diego that killed one person and injured four, the San Diego Police Department is sounding the alarm about Ghost Guns on the streets. KPBS’ Alexandra Rangel has more. Chief David Nisleit, San Diego Police Department “It was a ghost gun, or an unserialized firearm, and about one in four of every gun we are recovering right now is a ghost gun.” Ghost guns...Easy to buy and untraceable... San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit says San Diego County has seen a 169-percent rise in ghost guns in 2020... and says this year is on track to surpass last year's numbers. As local law enforcement combats the rise of guns on the streets, lawmakers continue to make efforts to control the selling of ghost guns. Just this month President Joe Biden introduced a series of executive orders to limit the selling of ghost guns, following the deadly Colorado and Atlanta shootings. However local gun advocate and executive director of San Diego Gun Owners, Michael Schwartz, says adding more restrictive laws won’t solve the problem at hand. Michael Schwartz, San Diego Gun Owners “The executive order, what he's hoping to do is create laws regarding home manufacturing firearms that mirror california laws to spread them to the other 49 states, but again what Chief Nielset is showing is that these laws that already exist in California aren’t making a difference. In California it is illegal to have a ghost gun or manufactured gun that has not been registered with the department of justice. The D-O-J requires self-made firearms to have a unique serial number. Michael Schwartz, San Diego Gun Owners “We really need to do things like stop and prevent individuals from committing crimes instead of chipping away and making metal, illegal, which is in effect what they are trying to do.” San Diego Police say the individuals they are coming across with ghost guns are convicted felons with past criminal history….just like the gunman from Thursday’s nights shooting in the Gaslamp Quarter. According to new data released from SDPD, So far this year 52 felons have been arrested for being in possession of a firearm compared to 154 people in 2020. In 2020 SDPD impounded 1734 firearms. 210 of those guns were ghost guns. As of April 1-st of this year, a total of 492 guns have been impounded, and 111 of them are ghost guns. Alexandra Rangel, KPBS News. That was KPBS’ Alexandra Rangel. ########## San Diego based researchers used underwater vehicles to explore an area of the seafloor near catalina island. They found thousands of deteriorating barrels of industrial waste, including the banned pesticide D-D-T. KPBS environment reporter Erik Anderson has details. The expedition mapped more than 36-thousand acres of the seafloor between Catalina Island and Los Angeles. The underwater vehicles found more than 100-thousand debris objects on the seafloor of the San Pedro Basin. A quarter of them were deteriorating barrels. Scripps researcher Eric Terrill says this is the first time for an underwater mapping project of this scope. “This is really the first of its kind, really, kind of pulling back the covers to see what’s been lying under the seabed here for decades. The area was a notorious dumping ground for industrial waste. Shipping logs indicate more than two-thousand barrels of D-D-T laced sludge were dumped there every month for more than 14 years. Erik Anderson KPBS News. And that was KPBS’ Erik Anderson. ########## Coming up.... This isn’t the first time a Democratic Governor has been recalled in California. We’ll have a bit of history on past recall efforts, and we’ll check in with how veterans in San Diego are getting help after their service. That’s all next, just after the break. Organizers of the recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom have collected enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. The California secretary of state’s office announced Monday that more than 1.6 million signatures had been verified. That's about 100,000 more than needed to force a recall vote, that'll take place most likely in the fall. This won't be the first recall a Democratic governor has faced. KQED Politics Editor Scott Shafer reports on some hard lessons Democrats learned when Governor Gray Davis was recalled 18 years ago. It can be difficult for service members to find a new purpose following their careers in the military. KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne spoke with a local veteran who got help from a charity to put his talents to work. Mike Andela spent 16 years in the Marine Corps, including tours to the Middle East as part of an explosive ordnance disposal unit. He suffered multiple injuries from explosives. “I had an IED behind me go off, it was about 100-110 lbs of explosives. I was probably about 10 yards away from that on foot, that hurt really bad as well.” But a final concussion in 20-16 is what forced Andela to go home… eventually taking a medical retirement in 20-18. “I left Kuwait and Iraq that year I left pretty angry, just defeated. It's like you took away one of my main purposes for living.” Andela had to find a new purpose for life but didnt know where to start. “People look at you as being Superman, what you do, how you do it, and when you don't have that anymore… its tough to pull yourself out of that.” Andela’s injuries gave him intense migraines and disorientation, preventing him from dedicating 40 hours a week to an employer. “I was scared of how am I going to provide for my family because Marine corps retirement does not pay all the bills. It's not like everybody thinks, you're going to get out, you're going to retire and everything is going to be fine.” This situation, often faced by retiring service members, is what Semper Fi and Americas Fund focuses on. “We see a lot of veterans that are searching for something tangible, something that's purpose filled for their life, and tools they can use in their recovery. Casey Fisher manages some of the apprenticeship programs that Semper Fi and Americas Fund offers... to help service members find a new purpose after service. And it's what helped Andela find a new purpose... after his career in the marine corps. “He came to me in 2017-2018 with the hope to do something with his hands, hes incredibly gifted, if you've seen any of his work but he was looking for something he could pour that talent into that could make him a little bit of money and give him a purpose to serve the community.” That’s where the idea for Coastal Sign Company grew. It’s not just a sign company… it’s also a workshop Andela operates with his wife out of their garage.... where customers can come in and make their own rustic crafts. “My wife actually came up with the idea for Coastal Sign Company as it being a workshop, not just something that we sell. Where people come to a workshop and they start out with a pile of wood like you see here and they end up with their very own, something they created, something they personalize, made, paint, and get to bring it home.” The Fund helped Andela with all of the details on forming the business as well as some funding. “They will tailor your business plan around what you want and what you can do and what you want to see your business doing.” Funding for Semper Fi and Americas Fund comes mainly from one off donations and some grants. They have helped over 30,000 families nationwide. Their mission: to support the wounded, ill, or injured veterans and their families in all military branches. “We have programs that range from an athletic program where you can play golf, learn how to ride a bike. We have a horse program, where we train servicemembers to ride horses and get to the point where they can do cattle drive, which is one of our greatest programs. And then there's the program I’m in where we will help veterans in navigating what it is they want to do after the military.” Semper Fi and Americas Fund will be having a virtual auction of products from the fund’s programs now through May 3rd. All proceeds will go to benefit programs helping veterans from the Fund. That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

Ways To Subscribe
The number of people entering homelessness for the first time in San Diego county nearly doubled from 2,326 in 2019 to 4,152 between April and June of 2020. That’s according to the latest report from the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. Meanwhile, the San Diego Police Department is warning about an increased presence of “Ghost Guns.” And, now that the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom has qualified for the ballot, we have lessons learned from past campaigns to recall Democratic Governors in California.