Number of newly homeless people continues to outpace newly housed in San Diego County

A homeless person sleeps in a La Jolla doorway in December 2021.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Regional task force compares the number who became homeless with those who found housing.


Almost 1,000 people became homeless in San Diego County last month while more than 600 homeless people found some type of housing, according to the latest monthly report from the San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness.

The task force report also found that agencies that provide assistance to people in need saw 3,700 new clients sign up for services in November, indicating a greater need throughout the county. About 700 people also began working with case managers in hopes of receiving housing.

The new monthly data is the second to be released since the task force issued a report in October that for the first time showed the number of people who fell into homelessness in each month compared with the number of homeless people who were housed. The report determined that over 12 months, 13 people became homeless for every 10 who were housed.

The monthly reports continue to show the county losing ground in efforts to find housing for homeless people. With the exception of only two months in the past year, the number of people falling into homelessness outpaced the number of people who found housing every month.

Though the 984 people who became homeless in November may look grim, the number was the lowest of any month since the task force began compiling data in October 2021. It also was a significant drop from the 1,343 people who became homeless for the first time in October, when 647 homeless people found housing.

The wide difference wasn’t unusual, as the numbers over the past year sometimes have fluctuated significantly. Before November, July had the lowest number of people falling into homelessness for the first time with 1,095, while the highest number was in May with 1,650.

Tamera Kohler, chief executive of the Regional Task Force on Homelessness, has said it’s unclear why the numbers fluctuate over the months and that more analysis will have to be done.

She also said service providers throughout the county have reported that economic needs are behind the numbers, with more people seeking food from pantries, help in paying utility bills or other assistance that may prevent them from falling into homelessness.

“We put out this report because if we stop doing prevention, the numbers are just going to continue to increase,” she said. “It’s really important that we still are focused on prevention and we double down on it. It’s needed now more than ever, which also means a lot of our service providers need the community to help them with those basic needs.”

Of the 625 homeless people who found housing in November, 187 were senior citizens, 124 were veterans and 61 were transitional-age youths. A total of 59 families were among those who found housing.

The people who found housing included those who rented a room, moved into permanent housing and/or moved in with a family member.

Service providers throughout the county have said they have seen a dramatic increase in the number of newly homeless people.

The latest task force report indicated that the 114 agencies that provide assistance for people in need had about 27,000 active clients last month. Of those, about 8,200 were 55 or older, 1,900 were transitional-age youths 18-24 and 3,900 were veterans. The agencies reported serving about 2,400 families in need.

In November, the task force received $5 million from the Bezos Day 1 Families fund, the largest-ever private gift to the organization. The fund was launched in 2018 by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to recognize organizations that help move families from homelessness and shelters into permanent housing with services to achieve stability.

Kohler said the money would be used to help families struggling with homelessness throughout the county. ◆