Some just lost a home. Others are about to. Can more aid to both groups slow the homelessness crisis?
It’s been a year-and-a-half since San Diego County last saw homelessness shrink. Barely.
In March 2022, the region housed 1,321 people, just nine more than the number of individuals who’d lost a place to stay for the first time, according to the Regional Task Force on Homelessness. Every month since — and four of the five months before — the crisis only worsened.
Even as cities look to expand their shelter networks, a number of donors and politicians are directing more cash to two groups: People on the cusp of losing their homes and those who just ended up on the streets. In both cases, leaders hope helping low-income residents make ends meet will be cheaper than housing somebody who’s spent months, if not years, in encampments.
San Diego County’s efforts are about to get a boost.
The task force has had an annual diversion budget of about $300,000. After a series of meetings overseen by county Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, several groups have together pledged an extra $1.1 million.
“We’d love to scale up,” Lawson-Remer said in an interview.