New program aimed at helping homeless - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New program aimed at helping homeless

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - More than 200 volunteers Monday began a three-day effort to survey the estimated 800 homeless people in downtown San Diego.

The goal is to create a registry of the downtown homeless and get the most vulnerable into the estimated 125 beds available in area shelters.

The surveyors gathered at 4 a.m. to walk through downtown and wake up the homeless who were sleeping on sidewalks, said Robin Munro, director of the project for the Downtown San Diego Partnership.

"There were quite a few people sleeping on the street," Munro said. "It's gotten progressively worse, especially the past few years with the (slumping) economy."

"They were very grateful and anxious to talk to us," Munro said.

Everyone she talked to as she went through the East Village wanted a job and was able to work, though some were battling substance abuse issues, Munro said.

One man with whom she spoke is 40 years old and has been homeless for most of the past 25 years, and two others have lived on the streets for more than 10 years, she said.

"It's a problem," said Munro, who lives and works downtown.

More than 200 volunteers conducted the survey, and 50 more will collect and enter data, which will be released Friday.

Among the volunteers were Rep. Susan Davis, D- San Diego, county Supervisors Greg Cox and Ron Roberts and San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria.

Officials with the Centre City Development Corporation, United Way, County of San Diego, Veterans Administration and San Diego Housing Commission are also involved in the project.

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