Stockton City Council members and nearly 200 volunteers looked under tents, along the sloughs and under freeway overpasses to take a count of the unsheltered homeless on Wednesday.
Setting out in teams, they carried questionnaires that included questions such as how long those they encountered have been living on the streets and if they have mental health problems.
Councilman Jesus Andrade also carried a bag full of items to give out.
“Toothbrushes, toothpaste, Chapstick is very important when you’re outdoors a lot,” he said.
Homeless shelters take in 1,500 people a night in San Joaquin County, but Greg Jaramillo with the Gospel Rescue Mission said there’s not enough room for everybody.
“Right now, they’re housing 85 men and we’re full,” he said.
Councilman Paul Canepa said the homeless count is important in securing government funding to provide more services and shelter.
“The county number is up to 14,000 homeless people in San Joaquin County, so it’s a big issue not only for the county but the city of Stockton also,” he said.
Among those counted was Mayu Fuller, who hasn’t had a roof over her head in three and a half years.
“It’s hard," she said, "but I’ll get it together.”
Mayor Michael Tubbs walked the streets and said the city council is leading by example.
“It’s a top priority. It’s a problem not just for Stockton but for the state, so we’re implanting a housing-first solution to house individuals who are homeless first and then provide services,” he said. “It’s a big task but one we have to do.”
A final tally will take a couple of weeks.
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