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Pacifica Sees Spike In Homeless Population

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PACIFICA (KCBS) – Known for its beaches and sweeping ocean views, Pacifica rarely attracts attention for crime or other quality of life problems. But statistics compiled over the past few years expose a growing problem: homelessness.

In 2007, Pacifica had record of just 7 homeless men and women. According to a one-day homeless count conducted in January 2013, there are now 150 recognized homeless individuals in Pacifica.

“Mostly in cars and RVs,” said Pacifica Resource Center executive director Anita Rees, who co-authored a recently released report on the problem of homelessness in Pacifica, based in part of the January 2013 count.

“That number is probably underrepresented,” she added, “because it didn’t catch any of the folks who are sleeping in tents on some days and in somebody’s back yard, in sheds and garages.”

Rees is particularly troubled by the lack of resources available in the community. “There is no shelter along the coast,” she pointed out.

“They have stayed with friends and family, they’ve pieced together all of their resources for as long as they could and because of their deep connection to the city they want to stay in the city. And so, now they’re homeless,” said Dr. Sheila Katz, a sociology professor and co-author of the report.

“They didn’t come to Pacifica to be homeless. These are Pacifica residents who sort of exhausted all of their resources and are only now starting to experience homelessness.”

The study’s authors hope to create a community homeless response team in Pacifica to better address the problem.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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