Governor Newsom joins volunteers in conducting San Diego County homeless count

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – We All Count, the federally required point-in-time count of San Diego County’s homeless population, will be conducted Thursday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom will be among the state, county and federal officials participating in the count, along with Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, along with outreach workers and volunteers.

Governor Newsom spoke with KUSI’s Ed Lenderman live on Good Morning San Diego about California’s homeless issue and how he is working to fix it. Regarding the homeless, he told Lenderman ” it is a crisis. I get it. It happened on our watch, we own this.” Newsom’s full interview with Lenderman is below.

Participants will use the Counting Us app which has a geographical information system, a framework for gathering, managing and analyzing data in real time.

The outreach workers and volunteers intend to count all individuals who spent the night in conditions considered unsheltered, including park benches, sidewalks, tents, vehicles and recreational vehicles.

The count is required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine federal funding for programs dealing with homelessness.

Last year’s count determined there were 8,102 people in San Diego County spending the night in the streets or in a shelter.

Newsom will assist volunteers at the Connections Housing shelter later Thursday morning, joined by Atkins and Josh Fryday, California’s chief service officer.

Newsom has made reducing homelessness a top priority of his second year in office. He signed an executive order Jan. 8 as part of a comprehensive state response to homelessness.

The order included creation of the California Access to Housing and Services Fund, expediting the availability of state land assets to temporarily house the homeless and directing the Department of General Services to supply 100 camp trailers from the state fleet and the Emergency Medical Services Authority to deploy modular tent structures to provide temporary housing and delivery of health and social services across the state.

In his state budget proposal released Jan. 10, Newsom formally announced more than $1 billion in homeless response funding, including $750 million for the Access to Housing and Services Fund, and making changes to the Medi-Cal system to better serve individuals experiencing mental illness and homelessness.

“The state of California is treating homelessness as a real emergency because it is one,” Newsom said in connection with signing the executive order. “Californians are demanding that all levels of government — federal, state and local — do more to get people off the streets and into services, whether that’s housing, mental health services, substance abuse treatment or all of the above.

“That’s why we’re using every tool in the toolbox — from proposing a massive new infusion of state dollars in the budget that goes directly to homeless individuals, emergency housing and treatment programs to building short-term emergency housing on vacant state-owned land.”

Is Gov. Gavin Newsom doing the right thing to fix California’s homeless issue? Share your opinion on the Sided conversation below.


Categories: Local San Diego News