400 Unhoused People From Ocean Beach to Lakeside Driven From San Diego Riverbed by Flooding and Rain — GoFundMe Page Set Up

by on January 4, 2023 · 4 comments

in Homelessness, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Michael McConnell, who has helped and advocated for the homeless for more than a decade, has set up a GoFundMe page in order to help unhoused individuals that lost their belongings from the rising levels of the San Diego River and the recent rain.

The continuous rain has flooded several areas in the San Diego Riverbed, which has impacted an estimated 400 people who call the San Diego Riverbed their home.

McConnell told San Diego Fox5 that folks who set up tents along the riverbed, lost everything, including their tents, blanket and clothes. From Ocean Beach to Lakeside, hundreds were affected by all the water. McConnell said:

“This flooding was the worse than I think I’ve ever seen. Folks are down in the riverbed, just trying to stay hidden and they stay down there until they have to leave and sometimes it’s too late. Sometimes the river is rising so fast they literally just have to grab their only belongings, their only important belongings and just run, run out of the riverbed.”

The flooding can be seen in several areas including behind Fashion Valley. The flooding has closed Avenida Del Rio in Mission Valley, which McConnell said, is where several homeless had set up their encampments. He has passed out dozens of tents, blankets and food to the now-displaced homeless over the last few days since the rain. Usually he spends his own money but he was convinced to set up the GoFundMe page. And donations have poured in, including $2,000 last Sunday, New Year’s Day.

“It’s heartbreaking because I know these folks, I know who they are here and until I see them and know they are okay, its troubling to see somebody’s home literally underwater where I knew they were the day before. There were folks walking around barefoot in the cold and rain because they literally lost their shoes, they had to leave so fast.”

“That’s a lot of folks that can keep dry, can keep warm, who otherwise might have to wait until the rain even ends before they can even go out and try to recycle and get enough money to buy it themselves. We’re going to get as much stuff out to people until the rains are over until the next time.”

As of this writing, 144 donations have raised $14,087.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

kh January 4, 2023 at 2:12 pm

Luckily no one was killed, at least that we know of.

The city is exposing itself to major liability for knowingly allowing encampments in a flood channel. The city needs to provide safe, sanctioned camping locations and enforce the law to prevent people from setting up in dangerous locations like this.


Frank Gormlie January 6, 2023 at 10:20 am

By today, Friday the 6th, $14,477 has been raised.


retired botanist January 6, 2023 at 4:43 pm

Bless Michael’s heart, it is so shocking that the responsibilities still lie with sole individuals, church shelters, and other civilian efforts to provide relief for unsheltered people…and it sure makes mass ‘hoarding’ under limiting circumstances like climate events, a 1st world effort in a country beset w/ a 3rd world problem….


Will January 11, 2023 at 7:24 am

I used to be much more empathetic to the plight of the unsheltered, but living near the corner of W. Point Loma and Nimitz and seeing erratic, dangerous, and thoughtless actions of many homeless in more recent years has unfortunately weakened that empathy.

I’ve had a man unrinate in my yard, a man be unresponsive on the ground on our street, a man yelled “do I frighten you!” to our 3 year-old, lots of litter, and several people who tried to set up living spaces near us. I know the US has a weak social safety net and the wealthy mostly run the show at the expense of the working poor. At the same time, these people need find their dignity and try, because they are essentially waiting to die and unfortunately just blending in with the litter.


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