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  • Alpine’s latest homeless count down slightly

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    Back Country Land Trust staff and volunteers drove Alpine streets and hiked local canyons on Jan. 25, to determine there were 10 homeless people in town. 
    That was three less than the 13 people found last year during the second annual  count in 2018, said Jon Green, land trust program and outreach director. 
    Green said nine people were found during the first count in 2017.
    “We’re hovering right about ten and we have three years of data now,” he said.
    While there is less trash caused by homeless people, said Green, littering and illegal dumping off Alpine Boulevard continues to be a significant problem.
    Alpine is the only rural community surveyed during San Diego County’s “Point in Time Count” at the end of every January. BCLT partners with San Diego County’s Regional Task Force on Homelessness for the early morning research.
    The annual count determines what federal aid comes to the area to work with the homeless situation.
    “It’s a required count from HUD (Housing and Urban Development),” said Kathryn Durant, task force operations coordinator. “Last year there was $20 million, plus another $8 million for homeless youth in this county.”
    Durant said the final total homeless count for  2019 might be available by late April.   
    In Alpine, homeless individuals used to be found in the Alpine Creek area along Alpine Boulevard. This year and last year four people were found living in cars on Viejas parking lots, Green said.
    “This time we found one large encampment of three tents, a mountain of trash, electronic waste and evidence that children were living there . . . a stuffed animal,” he said. “They were just off the freeway at Tavern Road. That whole thing is scary.”
    BCLT staff and volunteers have been working with law enforcement, the County of San Diego and cooperative private land owners to deal with the situation in the creek areas, Green said, noting that grant funding has also been helpful..
    “This year we found no creek encampments --- not one,” Green said. “Homelessness is not occurring in the areas where we’re paying attention. Now we have to actively go out and find the homeless. Some of the people are just moving out farther.”
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