2019 homeless ‘We All Count’ results in, East County numbers released

Gary, Lisa, Bucket sit outside a 7-Eleven in Lakeside several weeks prior to the 'We All Count' survey. Photo by Ana Nita.

The 2019 “Point-in-Time Count” of the homeless population this past January indicated there are 8,102 people living on the streets of San Diego County at any given time.

The San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless released the survey numbers on April 29, 2019.

Also known as “We All Count,” the survey was conducted on January 25, 2019, from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. More than 1500 volunteers and outreach workers were involved in the count.

Volunteers received minimal training and preprinted survey forms before beginning their early morning mission. They were teamed with outreach workers, many of whom were county employees, to seek out and contact both the sheltered and unsheltered homeless in the county.

Suspected homeless who refused to be interviewed were also documented, though with a different survey form. People contacted who had other reasons for being out were not included in the count.

The Regional Task Force is charged with completing the annual count, which is critical in securing federal funding for needed housing and services.

The numbers will be used to determine future protocols and potential solutions as the community works to solve the homeless problem. The goal is to end chronic homelessness in the San Diego region.

Of the 8,102 people counted, 4,476 (a little over 55 percent) were identified as “unsheltered” homeless. Unsheltered, for the purposes of the survey, was considered those found spending the night on park benches, sidewalks, tents, and in vehicles. Ten percent of the total homeless population identified as veterans, 36 percent reported having a physical disability, 12 percent were youth under 24 years of age, and 3 percent were families with at least one child.

Only 27 percent of those contacted were female. Most of the counted – 78 percent – reported they had become homeless in San Diego.

For purposes of the survey, the county was divided into five regions: North County Inland, North County Coastal, South County, East County, and the City of San Diego. Not surprisingly, the City of San Diego had the highest numbers, with 62.7 percent (over 5,000) of the homeless identified in the county.

The next highest count was in the East County region, at 13 percent of the total.

The City of El Cajon led the count, with 298 unsheltered (and 489 sheltered) homeless noted. El Cajon was the only east county area to have beds for the homeless.

Lakeside was second of seven in the East County count, with 72 unsheltered homeless found, followed by Spring Valley/Casa de Oro (67), La Mesa (46), Lemon Grove and Santee (tied at 35 apiece), and Alpine with 10. A total of 1,052 homeless were counted in the East County.

Four of the seven communities of the East County region are incorporated cities: El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, and Santee.

Only the City of El Cajon, had fewer homeless counted than Lakeside.

The remaining communities in the East County region are unincorporated towns.

For more details of the 2019 San Diego Point-in-Time Count, go to their website at:


2019 homeless ‘We All Count’ results in, East County numbers released