Here's Where San Diego's Growing Homeless Population Is Moving To


Photo: Getty Images

Officials say the situation has never been this bad as the county's homeless population has grown by 10% in the last two years.

Anyone living in a vehicle or outdoors without shelter is considered to be homeless. A recent report from the San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness found that 8,427 people living in the county are homeless - an increase of 10% from the first quarter of 2020.

Officials say the number of homeless is probably much higher, but of the 8,427 counted, a little over half are living in shelters.

The increase in homelessness comes despite many efforts to overcome it.

  • Over the past two years, the city of San Diego purchased and converted two extended-stay hotels into permanent housing for over 400 people.
  • Father Joe's Villages opened a 407-unit affordable housing project.
  • San Diego City increased the number of shelter beds by 25% bringing the total of 1,468 with another 450 beds coming soon with special facilities for women-only, seniors, and families.

While the city of San Diego still has the largest population of homeless, the number of people has dropped slightly. Although the county's homeless population has been higher (10,013 people were counted in 2012), the majority of all the people counted at that time were within the city of San Diego. What's changing is that more and more homeless people are moving out of the city, primarily to San Diego's east county or they are becoming homeless within east county.

  • El Cajon

Went from 775 in 2020 to 1,308 in 2022 - a 68.8% increase and the second-highest in San Diego County

  • Encinitas

Went from 65 in 2020 to 113 in 2022 - a 73.8% increase

  • Lakeside

Went from 24 in 2020 to 63 in 2022 - a 162.5% increase

  • Santee

Went from 25 in 2022 to 147 in 2022 - a 488% increase

  • Unincorporated Areas

Went from 27 in 2022 to 173 in 2022 - a 488% increase

More details from the report will be released later this year, but one discovery that stands out from the report is that 85% of the homeless people counted said that they became homeless in San Diego.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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