The burden of providing services for thousands of homeless people in the San Diego area rests almost exclusively with San Diego city and county government, a survey completed by the San Diego Assn. of Governments (Sandag) states.
The city governments in Carlsbad, Coronado, Del Mar, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, National City, Oceanside, Poway, San Marcos and Vista allocate no funds for programs for the homeless, said Michael McLaughlin, a senior regional planner for the association.
McLaughlin called efforts on the part of the remaining members of the association "negligible" compared to the city and county.
The City of San Diego has $645,000 delegated for programs for the homeless for fiscal 1985 and the county has $545,000, McLaughlin said.
He said that the city estimates it has 3,000 to 5,000 homeless while the county estimates 5,000 are homeless in the unincorporated areas.
"Generally those jurisdictions with the more homeless have more money earmarked for the homeless," he said, but added that many cities do not know how many homeless there are in their community.
McLaughlin cautioned that the survey had some problems. Escondido reported that it spends close to $500,000 on the homeless, he said, but some of the money is actually directed toward programs for unwed mothers.
"The difficulty is in defining homelessness," McLaughlin said. The survey considered homeless as "those individuals who regularly have no place to go during a significant part of any 24-hour period."
Another problem was that member agencies varied as to how carefully they responded to the survey, McLaughlin said. "Some jurisdictions just put x's where we asked for dollar amounts."
Supervisor George Bailey, the county's representative to Sandag, requested the survey to inventory services for the homeless. His March 14 letter stated that homelessness was a regional problem best resolved by the Sandag member agencies working together. The member agencies include the area's 16 cities and San Diego County.
When Bailey sent the letter, he was acting on a February request by the Board of Supervisors.
McLaughlin said the city and county do not have enough temporary shelter to meet the "ballpark figure" of 10,000 homeless in the two jurisdictions. In addition, many homeless people face problems of unemployment, drug or alcohol abuse and mentally illness, he said.
McLaughlin said a report of the survey's results is to be presented to the Sandag executive committee Friday.