San Diego homelessness level drops on costly clean-up effort, mayor says

As Los Angeles County grapples with a growing homeless population, San Diego has managed to get more people off the streets and into shelters, according to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

“[The homeless count is] down 6 percent county-wide,” he told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Friday. “It really is about challenging the bureaucracies that have been entrenched in the status quo and doing things differently.”

By comparison, Los Angeles County homelessness spiked 12 percent over the past year.

In addition to building bridge shelters, Faulconer also erected storage centers to tidy up the streets.

“One of the things that we are doing in San Diego, that I think is really having a dramatic effect of getting people off the street is, we’ve established bridge shelters with help and wraparound services. A storage center for belongings that is helping to clean up our streets and our sidewalks. And really a sense of our overall attitude that says a sidewalk or a tarp or a riverbed is no place for a home,” he explained.


Although the effort has been costly, Faulconer believes “its money well spent.”

“I just signed our budget yesterday – over $3 billion in San Diego and one line item alone for helping to clean up our sidewalks, remove trash, my “Clean SD” program, is $10 million," he said. "I feel strongly about this. I feel passionately about this—that’s how you have to run a major American city. We care about the cleanliness—we care about our environment—and we care about getting people off the street and ensuring that that’s happening.”