Homelessness In Our Hometown

San Diego struggles to keep up with rising homelessness.


Joseph Salcido, Editor In Chief

It is no secret that homelessness has become a significant issue spanning all of San Diego County. Data the San Diego Regional Task Force recently released on homelessness showed in September that 1,368 people had become homeless, the fourth-highest in the past 12 months. Only 789 ended up finding housing, which was the third-lowest in the past year.

“It’s really getting out of hand here in San Diego,” said Army Veteran and Grossmont Griffin Taszabza Bealer.

 “Anytime you are in downtown, there are entire streets covered with people who need housing, and it seems like nobody is doing anything to help, and I know a lot of them are veterans.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic nearly over and everyone scrambling to get back to normal, we are now seeing its long-term results. Economies worldwide struggling to catch up with demand and prices to surging in so many areas, resulting in people struggling to pay their bills. Data released by the Regional Task Force showed that for every 10 people who found housing, another 13 became homeless.

“One of the things I think it shows is we know what to do, we just have not been able to do it at the right scope and scale,” Regional Task Force on Homelessness CEO Tamera Kohler told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “And even when we have been able to do it at that scope and scale, the numbers overwhelm the system.

“There are successes every day,” she continued. “We just have a lot more people coming in than going out.”

One positive note is the data showed no need for new housing units to be built or housing vouchers to be distributed.

“The majority need a little bit of assistance or a little bit of help navigating where they may be able to return to employment or find a unit they could afford or find a family member they can be housed with,” Kohler said. “The success of the system isn’t just, ‘We need more permanent supportive housing’ or more housing vouchers.”

Looking back at the past year, a report from the task force showed that from October 2021 to September 2022, San Diego saw 15,327 people who were experiencing homelessness for the first time, while 11,861 people found housing.

Recently La Mesa started implementing signs that read: PLEASE DO NOT SUPPORT PANHANDLING. At the bottom it directs readers to the HOME program, which helps homeless people find shelter.

City Manager Humora, a former public works director and city engineer for La Mesa, said to the Times of San Diego that the signs were “developed by staff to further homeless education and outreach consistent with the Homeless Action Plan.”

Ken Stone

Many residents have found the signs demean people just trying to make it another day without going hungry. I stopped to ask some students on campus if they had seen the signs and what they feel is the answer to addressing our homelessness here in the local area.

Griffin Tamarah Shamoon said: “I don’t think this helps at all, I drive by the Chili’s over by the Costco in La Mesa on my way to work, and they put a sign at the light, since lots of people ask for money there, but I still see people give money because we all know these are tough times and people just need help.”

With inflation becoming such a pressing issue and a housing crisis here in San Diego, we can only hope that city officials develop a solid plan to combat the ongoing homelessness.