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2024 Point-in-Time Count results released

SAN DIEGO – The Regional Task Force on Homelessness released the topline data collected from more than 1,700 volunteers spread across San Diego County in January for this year’s Point-in-Time Count, May 22. The information shows the minimum number of people experiencing homelessness across the region.

Overall, the 2024 Point-in-Time Count found no less than 10,605 people experiencing homelessness across our region. This includes 6,110 unsheltered San Diegans and 4,495 individuals in shelters and transitional housing. This is a 3% increase from the 2023 Point-in-Time Count.

In 2023, homelessness across the region was up about 20% from the prior year. The 2024 count shows homelessness is a regional issue, with roughly 200 additional people experiencing homelessness in each region of San Diego County.

“While a 3% increase is encouraging, we counted more people in unsheltered conditions across the region. We’re seeing a significant increase in people living in their cars. This year's numbers suggest we have a continuing need for more sheltering options and support for the efforts many cities are now taking to combat this crisis,” RTFH CEO Tamera Kohler said. “We must focus on populations like seniors, veterans, and people living in cars, where proven housing strategies can make a difference in the months and years ahead.”

The 2024 Point-in-Time Count showed an increase in the number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness, including a 44% increase in individuals and families living in their cars, and a decrease in shelter or other temporary housing options. With the loss of federal emergency funding, including hotel/motel vouchers, and a shift toward safe sleeping and safe parking sites in several communities, RTFH is not surprised by these data points.

It’s critical to point out that the Department of Housing and Urban Development defines safe sleeping and safe parking sites as unsheltered homelessness and thus includes them in the unsheltered section of the Point-in-Time Count. In the City of San Diego, for example, 472 individuals were in the safe sleeping sites, and 285 individuals were in the safe parking sites.

RTFH Board Chair Ray Ellis said “San Diegans should feel cautious optimism about this data. While we are still seeing too many experiencing homelessness for the first time, our region is making the right kind of investments in critical system infrastructure and programs that make a difference.”

Beyond the topline numbers, vital data collected by Point-in-Time Count volunteers provides deeper insights into what homelessness looks like across our region. Populations that leveled off or decreased from 2023 include seniors (a less than 1% increase) and those found on CalTrans sites (a 10% decrease). Eighty-one percent of individuals counted said they began experiencing homelessness in San Diego County.

The oldest person found experiencing unsheltered homelessness was an 85-year-old Hispanic woman.

“I hope this is the high water mark,” CoC Advisory Board Chair Pastor Rolland Slade said. “Our board is proud of the work that communities, nonprofits, religious groups and others are embracing. Vista opening up a navigation center, the County increasing funding for RTFH’s diversion practice, Imperial Beach hiring a full time outreach worker – these actions add up and are crucial to slowing down what has been an accelerated crisis. There’s a lot more work to do but this is good progress.”

This year’s count also shows the reporting of Hispanic ethnicity along with race, properly conveying the impact of homelessness on San Diego County’s Hispanic population.

In addition to the information in this release, RTFH’s website contains regional and city-specific Point-in-Time information. This information was made available starting May 22.

Data from the Point-in-Time Count is only a part of what RTFH provides to the public to better inform the community about what homelessness looks like in the region. Monthly reports created by the organization, for example, show this region has not seen a month since March 2022 where more individuals exited homelessness than experienced homelessness for the first time, a 25-month streak.

Additionally, from October 2022 to September 2023, the region's homeless response system interacted with more than 46,000 individuals, up from 41,000 the previous year.

“Our biggest challenge remains the sky-high cost of housing across our region,” Kohler said. “The long-term need for abundant housing for people of all income levels remains apparent. There are still too few units and too much need. Yet I’m heartened by this report. There are interventions for many of the populations we’ve seen an increase in that can make a real difference. Communities across the county, from Vista to National City, San Diego to La Mesa, are leaning into game-changer solutions. If we can keep people housed, quickly end homelessness for those sleeping in their cars, and continue to target vulnerable populations, San Diego has a fighting chance to see real change moving forward.”

The Regional Task Force on Homelessness has evolved from an initial Mayor’s Task Force nearly 40 years ago to the robust organization that it is today with an integrated array of stakeholders committed to preventing and alleviating homelessness in San Diego. It provides essential data and insights on the issue of homelessness, informing policy and driving system design, performance and solutions.

 

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