The 2017 Regional Task Force on Homeless Point-in-Time Count revealed that 9,116 individuals are experiencing homelessness in the San Diego region, of which 62 percent of them (5,619 individuals) are located in the City of San Diego. The count this year also revealed that 5,621 homeless individuals in San Diego County are unsheltered, representing a 14 percent increase from 2016 (4,940 individuals).
I am extremely concerned that our homeless population has continued to grow and the City still isn't providing sufficient shelter beds. By living outside, individuals are getting exposed to dangerous conditions that are placing them at high risk. In fact, San Diego is currently experiencing an outbreak of Hepatitis A. According to the County of San Diego, this outbreak has already caused 15 deaths and 263 hospitalizations.
Under California Government Code Section 8698-8698.2, the City may declare a shelter crisis, which is deemed to constitute a local emergency. Given the growing homeless population and the Hepatitis A outbreak, the City should declare a public health and safety and shelter crisis. The City owns property such as the former Downtown Central Library, Golden Hall, and others, that could serve as a temporary shelter to help these individuals. As a City, we must take the necessary actions to prevent this outbreak from getting worse.
I am respectfully requesting that you declare a shelter crisis in the City of San Diego and immediately begin working on locating a temporary shelter in City owned property downtown such as the former Downtown Central Library or Golden Hall. For your consideration, I have attached a draft resolution declaring a shelter crisis (Attachment 1).
People are dying. We must do everything we can to protect the public. This crisis has gone on for too long. I urge you to take immediate action.