Preparing for their 4 a.m. wake-up call next Friday, a roomful of volunteers met downtown last night to learn the basics about the region’s upcoming tally of unsheltered homeless people. Similar trainings are happening throughout the county this week for more than 700 volunteers.
Count organizer Dania Brett said her group, the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, will deploy counters to more than 500 of the county’s 605 U.S. Census tracts to count individuals, cars with people sleeping in them and hand-built structures like cardboard boxes, shopping carts with tarps draped over them and tents.
Partner groups will do special searches in the county’s canyons and places where unsheltered youth are known to sleep, Brett said. “But we can’t cover every canyon, and we can’t cover every inch of the river beds,” she said.
Turns out, planning the count is also a remarkable lesson in San Diego geography.
“Because we have so many canyons, because we have over 4,000 square miles to cover, because over half of that is rural, there are a lot of challenges,” she said. “But it’s worth the effort.”