If you’re a homeless person who walks off the street and into downtown’s Paul Mirabile Center, the region’s largest year-round shelter, you’ll likely wait almost three weeks for a bed. Potential clients at Interfaith Community Service’s smaller 49-bed shelter in Escondido can wait as long as six weeks.
The latest census of San Diego County’s homeless population revealed a 19 percent increase in those living on the streets. The frequent shortage of immediate shelter and resources for the homeless only make it more challenging to get people off the streets.
“As a community, we need to realize there are not adequate resources right now,” said Bill Bolstad of Father Joe’s Villages, which operates the Paul Mirabile Center.
The mismatch between need and San Diego’s relative lack of emergency resources aren’t new.
Just 9 percent of year-round beds available to San Diego’s homeless population last year were considered emergency resources, according to a Voice of San Diego analysis of federal Housing and Urban Development data. Other West Coast cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Phoenix reported about double that share.
Interfaith Community Services Executive Director Greg Anglea, who leads a regional committee overseeing local progress on ending veteran and chronic homelessness, said there’s long been a supply-and-demand issue.