San Diego launches homeless resources website

A shelter for homeless is set up on a downtown baseball field on July 23, 2016, in San Diego. (George Rose / Getty Images)

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San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and the city’s homelessness department launched a new website last week that gathers key statistics and other information about efforts to support the local homeless population.

The website contains links to programs designed to help homeless people, such as the city’s Safe Parking program, which designates certain parking lots as places for people living out of their cars to use overnight. There’s also information about other resources provided by the city, such as shelters, outreach teams and encampment clean-up.

Among San Diego’s homeless population, there are nearly 2,500 unsheltered people and about 2,300 in shelters, according to the new site. The website highlights other figures, such as 1,200 housing placements made over the past year.

A section on “success stories” shares photos, videos and blurbs about people who were once homeless but now rebuilding their lives.

The website also links to San Diego Housing Commission’s data dashboards, which provide additional metrics on the city’s efforts to assist its homeless population, such as the average stay length for shelter visitors and demographic information about those who’ve used the city’s housing services.

“This website gives the public insight into how the city collaborates with our partners to create facilities, programs and services to help people end their homelessness,” said Hafsa Kaka, director of the city’s Homelessness Strategies and Solutions Department. “While this crisis is daunting, it’s important for San Diegans to know there are effective approaches to getting folks off the street and into housing, and our team is pursuing them.”

There are about 161,000 homeless people in California — the most of any state, according to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness — including about 11,000 veterans.

Data released this year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development suggests that the number of people using shelters declined during the pandemic, but an influx of federal aid, which provided additional temporary housing options, may have confounded those findings. And infrequent counts of homeless populations has long challenged those seeking to understand homelessness trends. California, for instance, didn’t count its unsheltered population last year.

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