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This will be the third year in a row more than 500 homeless people have died in San Diego County

Blake Nelson, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in News & Features

People were killed by trucks and trains and the trolley.

They died with sepsis and COVID-19.

Investigators found fatal doses of Fentanyl and Fentanyl mixed with methamphetamine or cocaine or codeine.

Just since January, an estimated 550 homeless people have died throughout the region, according to preliminary data from the San Diego County medical examiner. This is the third year in a row to see deaths top 500 as the number of people becoming homeless continues to rise.

"Everyone should be grieving the loss of these neighbors," said Megan Partch, Father Joe's Villages' chief health officer. "Until there is enough housing in our community for all of us to thrive, our belief is that this tragedy will continue."

Health care experts said more people on the street meant more untreated and exacerbated conditions, and October was the 19th consecutive month that saw the crisis grow.


Nearly 1,160 people lost a place to stay for the first time, according to the newest report from the Regional Task Force on Homelessness. During the same period, fewer than 860 homeless people found housing, meaning the total number living in tents, cars or shelters rose by hundreds.

There have undoubtedly been successes.

Those that did get a home included 80 young adults, 100-plus families, more than a 120 veterans and 200 seniors. Officials have pledged to better utilize a voucher program helping people who served in the military and a new county effort offers rental assistance to older adults at risk of eviction.

The city of San Diego has opened a second site to safely camp and officials are looking for places to quickly build small homes.


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