The San Diego Rescue Mission says in the 16 years they have held the vigil for homeless people lost during the year, they have never seen so many die in the span of 12 months.
Dozens gathered to remember the 115 homeless people who died on San Diego streets over the past year Sunday evening.
Participants marched silently from the mission to the County Building, each carrying a pair of shoes representing one of the 115 people who died.
The number is a jump up from last year and more than double the number of homeless who died the year before.
“We need more permanent, supportive housing here in San Diego or this problem is not going away,” Herb Johnson of the rescue mission tells NBC 7.
Johnson says the number of people who live in shelters in San Diego dropped nearly 20 percent while the number of people who live on the streets has gone up by that same amount. He says in America’s Finest City the number of deaths is incomprehensible.
“Every single one of them is somebody's son, somebody's daughter, somebody's mother, somebody's grandfather, grandmother,” he says. “It's a tragedy for each and every one of them and a tragedy for San Diego.”
San Diego has the fourth largest population in the United Sates.