SAN DIEGO — Today, upon release of a new analysis revealing 11,636 homeless students spread across all of San Diego city council districts, Alliance San Diego calls for an evaluation of the impact of the Mayor’s homeless encampment ban on homeless students and other vulnerable groups.
The analysis of school data collected in the last school year of the more than 11,000 homeless students in the city is distinct from the Point-In-Time count of 6,500 homeless people overall in the city that was also announced today and is understood to be an undercount. The homeless student count is likely to be more accurate for students as it is self-reported by families to the schools that students attend, and the schools in turn report those numbers to the State of California.
The largest number of homeless students in San Diego are in District 8 (Vivian Moreno), District 4 (Monica Montgomery Steppe), and District 9 (Sean Elo-Rivera), but every district has homeless students who have not been factored into the conversation about homelessness. While most of the students come from schools in the San Diego Unified School District, they also come from schools in other school districts that are located in the city.
As the San Diego City Council prepares to vote on a homeless encampment ban proposed by Mayor Todd Gloria with the help of Councilmember Stephen Whitburn (883 homeless students in his district) on June 13, Alliance San Diego calls for an evaluation of the impact of the ban on homeless students and other vulnerable groups such as female, elderly, LGBTQ+, migrant, and fostered individuals as well as people with disabilities.
Given that homeless students in particular have not been discussed — at all — as part of the encampment ban and their numbers are devastatingly high, the effect of the ban on them must be understood.
Alliance San Diego joined Think Dignity and more than 50 organizations in a letter opposing the encampment ban. We add to a growing chorus of opposition that includes the American Nurses Association, San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness, scholars and educators and major stakeholders like Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego, San Diego Housing Federation, LISC San Diego, Lived Experience Advisers, Dreher Law Firm, and the National Lawyers Guild.
No one wants people sleeping on the streets, especially unhoused community members seeking stable housing. This includes a former foster youth and homeless student, Cuauhtli, who shares his own story in this video seeking community support for a petition started by Alliance, calling for a plan, not a ban.
In 2019, the San Diego City Council unanimously approved a bold plan — the Community Action Plan on Homelessness — that was developed by national experts to reduce homelessness by half. But the plan has been collecting dust ever since. Instead of implementing the plan, the Mayor is asking the City Council to adopt an encampment ban that would move people away from public bathrooms, public services, and public spaces. This could significantly affect the safety and well-being of homeless residents, especially homeless students. For this reason, we call for an update to the Community Action Plan that incorporates an evaluation of the needs of the homeless students and other vulnerable groups, and the impact of any proposed policy on them.
ABOUT ALLIANCE SAN DIEGO
Alliance San Diego is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) community organization that is building collective power to create a more inclusive democracy, one where all people can participate with dignity in an environment of harmony, safety, equality and justice. We pursue this mission by developing leaders, engaging the community, advocating for policies, communicating strategically, and protecting human rights.