June 5, 2022

Regional Task Force on Homelessness (RTFH) Helps Tackle Homelessness by Conducting WeAllCount Point-in-Time Count

Jordan Beane, Director of Policy and Communications, Regional Task Force on Homelessness 


On May 23, 2022, the Regional Task Force on Homelessness released the topline results from the 2022 WeAllCount Point-in-Time Count, a one-day snapshot of the minimum number of San Diegans living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, safe havens, and on our streets and along our riverbeds. Conducted on a cold and damp February morning, at the tail end of the Omicron COVID-19 wave, this count was completed thanks to the time and generosity of 1,400 volunteers across San Diego County. 

The 2022 Point-in-Time Count was the first full count done by the Regional Task Force on Homelessness since January 2020. With the 2020 data collected before the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent increase in shelter options, comparisons between these two counts are not possible. Additionally, heavy rains the night before and frigid temperatures the morning of the count may have impacted the number of people sleeping outside. Despite all that, the trendlines between the two counts help provide a clearer picture of what homelessness looks like in our region. 

Overall, the 2022 Point-in-Time Count found no less than 8,427 individuals experiencing homelessness across San Diego County, a 10% increase from 2020. It is critical to understand this is a minimum number. The challenges of finding every person in a car, canyon, or under a bridge, is impossible, but every effort is made to find and engage as many people as we can. This number includes 4,106 unsheltered San Diegans with 4,321 individuals in shelters. Of those surveyed, 85% said they had fallen into homelessness while living in the San Diego region. 

“The Point-in-Time Count is about much more than numbers – it’s about people,” said Tamera Kohler, CEO, Regional Task Force on Homelessness. “Right now, too many people are suffering in San Diego. They are mothers and daughters, fathers and sons. They fell into homelessness due to a lost job, a lost spouse, or some other crisis beyond their control. Add in the fact that we live in the most expensive housing market in the country, where double digit rent increases are common, and you can see why too many San Diegans are left behind. The people our volunteers spoke to – from a senior with Alzheimer’s sleeping in a tent, to a family sheltering in their car, to people with a full-time job but not enough income to pay rent – aren’t just numbers on a spreadsheet. They’re our neighbors, doing their best to survive.” 

There are bright spots in the data, including a 30% decrease in the veteran homeless population and a 7% decrease in the chronic homelessness population versus 2020. These results are uplifting because of the investment and resources the region has devoted to these subpopulations. Additionally, San Diego County saw an increase in transitional aged youth in shelter, ensuring easier access to permanent housing for that vulnerable population. Additional shelter options throughout the region also made a difference as well as a large housing effort in downtown San Diego housing roughly 150 San Diegans the week leading up to the count. 

The Point-in-Time Count also brought into focus some concerning trends in our homeless population:  

  • 2022 saw an increase in families experiencing homelessness, up 56% from 2020.  

  • Black San Diegans, who make up less than 5% of the total population in San Diego County, made up 24% of the region’s unsheltered homeless population.  

  • While 24% of San Diegans experiencing homelessness were over 55 in both 2020 and 2022, this year’s count showed 47% of those seniors were experiencing homelessness for the first time, with 57% having a physical disability. The oldest person surveyed living on the street in San Diego County was 87. 

“This data tells us where we need the most attention, right now, to make an impact,” said Sean Spear, Chair, San Diego Continuum of Care Advisory Board. “Whether it’s Black San Diegans, seniors or other groups who are increasingly experiencing homelessness, we must increase our efforts to reverse these trend lines.” 

Overall, the Point-in-Time Count provides much needed context about who is sleeping outside and what their challenges are.  

Sarah Hutmacher, Chief Associate Director for the San Diego River Park Foundation and Point-in-Time Count volunteer, said in a new video about this year’s count: “I’m often surprised by people that are putting their dress shirts on to go to work from a tent, under a freeway. The more you listen, the more you find ways that you can relate.” 


To read full press release visit: 2022 Point in Time Count Data Released - Regional Task Force on Homelessness

To learn more about Regional Task Force on Homelessness  and how you can get involved visit: Get Involved - Regional Task Force on Homelessness