SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - We're getting a more accurate picture of the homeless population in San Diego.
There are almost 9,000 homeless people living in the county, according to the San Diego Regional Task Force. A new study is designed to figure out who they are so we can help the homeless get off the streets.
The homeless count is really important because it determines how much federal HUD funding local homeless services get. They usually they get about $15 million a year.
The information also allows our community to better understand and subsequently address the problem of homelessness. The homeless numbers, just released by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, are determined by a count done by volunteers in January across the country.
According to the count, homelessness is down in San Diego County by four percent from last year, making the total number of homeless in the county 8,520. Most of the homeless population is located in the city of San Diego.
Out of the homeless population, most are male, have been homeless for more than a year and have gone to an emergency room in the past year.
The numbers also show a five percent increase in the number of homeless people who now have shelter.
The executive director of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless attributes the decrease in homelessness to a number of factors, including an increase of volunteerism and people interested in helping out.
The data shows that when it comes to the greatest homeless population in the nation, San Diego ranks fourth. But the good news is the number of homeless individuals in this region has decreased from last year.