By Michael Stetz / Union-Tribune / September 18, 2010
Not every homeless person pushes a shopping cart full of clothes, blankets and second-hand possessions. Not all are haggard, drunk and smelly. Not everyone is an adult, and some choose to stay on the streets.
For certain, there are commonalities. Studies have shown that alcohol abuse, drug addiction and mental-health problems are common in this population. Single men make up the largest group. Minorities are overrepresented.
But the full spectrum is long and complex. Demographers said the county has about 8,500 homeless people, a number that’s growing because of the economic doldrums.
Starting Monday, more than 200 volunteers will launch an ambitious effort to register the homeless in downtown San Diego and then get the neediest ones into assistance programs. The survey takers likely will find a diversity of people struggling to survive. Here are some of their stories.
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