El Nino a Threat to San Diego's Homeless - NBC 7 San Diego

El Nino a Threat to San Diego's Homeless

The 2015 homeless census reported 5,538 homeless people living in the City of San Diego with more than 2,700 of those not staying in shelters

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    Project Homeless Connect 2016

    NBC 7's Liberty Zabala reports from the annual event serving the homeless at Golden Hall. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016)

    Umbrellas and raincoats were offered along with other services at an annual event for the homeless in downtown San Diego Wednesday.

    Organizers of the 10th annual Project Homeless Connect provided everything from meals to healthcare at Golden Hall.

    Because San Diego has been warned to prepare for El Nino-fueled storms this winter, the volunteers made an effort to provide those living on the streets with some protection from the rain.

    John McKenna decided he was going to be one of the first people in line for the event.

    He is says he lost his job and his home after his landlord raised his rent.

    McKenna was looking forward to the event offering medical, vision and dental screenings as well as identification cards, flu shots and haircuts.

    “It means a lot to me because I can get a lot of things done,” he explains saying he plans to meet with attorneys for legal advice while also getting care for his pet.

    San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer was on hand along with 200 volunteers to open the event.

    “Unfortunately, one homeless individual is one too many but even if we were able to get one person off the street because of this event, it’s a benefit,” said Melissa Peterman with the San Diego Housing Commission.

    The 2015 homeless census reported 5,538 homeless people living in the City of San Diego with more than 2,700 of those not staying in shelters.

    There was a four-percent increase in the number of homeless in the county between 2014 and 2015, according to the report.

    The next homeless census is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 29, 2016.