Local homelessness surges in October
The Regional Task Force on Homelessness says for every person who found housing in our community in October, two more became homeless. You can see this just steps away from the Fashion Valley Mall, where more than 400 people live in the nearby riverbed. That's a sizable jump from the beginning of the year.
ABC10 News spoke to a man who's been homeless in San Diego for three years. He didn't want to show his face or give his name because none of his nine kids know he's been living on the streets. He says rising living costs make it difficult for many unhoused people to find stability.
"It's a choice," he said. "Do you want a roof, or do you want to eat? Do you want a pair of shoes, or do you want to eat? This just a speed bump. By no means is this permanent."
He makes ends meet by working as a handyman, and gets most of his food from local food banks.
"My kids still call me and say 'hey dad we're a little bit short,'" he said. "I'll go straight to Western Union or whatever and send them money."
He says he's been searching for years, trying to find one thing.
"A little bit of what I used to have. You know, family," he said. "Some place where I can say 'hey kids, do you want to come over?' I can't do that."
This comes as the Regional Task Force on Homelessness held its first ever 'Solutions for San Diego' conference on Wednesday. Recent data shows only 674 of San Diego's more than 4,000 homeless people found housing last month.
That's the lowest monthly number in more than a year. But many people on the streets are clinging on to hope.
"Being religious, he always makes sure I've got what I need," he said.
The San Diego River Park Foundation is holding its annual sock drive Saturday at its office on Pacific Drive, supporting all of the homeless people living on the riverbed and helping connect them to housing services. You can visit the foundation's website if you want to donate or see more information.