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Feb. 23 - Serving Seniors Staff Members Participate in San Diego County’s Point In Time Count

February 23, 2022


Contact:     Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, Fellow PRSA – Serving Seniors

                   619-997-2495 or GLF@SAN.RR.COM


Serving Seniors Staff Members Participate in San Diego County’s Point In Time Count

Three teams of Serving Seniors staff members walked the chilly streets of downtown San Diego Thursday morning surrounding the Serving Seniors Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center at 1525 4th Avenue as volunteer participants in the annual “Point In Time Count.”

Led by Serving Seniors CEO Paul Downey and COO Melinda Forstey, the teams successfully surveyed approximately 25 individuals on the streets in the early morning hours between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Downey reported that 22 of the 25 people who consented to surveys were seniors. “I expect this year’s results to show the percentage of people experiencing homelessness who are over 55 has increased,” said Downey. Currently, the Serving Seniors Needs Assessment report released in September 2021 found one in four homeless San Diegans is over age 55.

“The people I talked to didn’t fit stereotypes of substance abuse or mental illness,” said Downey. “These were people from different circumstances who found themselves sleeping near our Wellness Center on cold concrete sidewalks overnight, waiting for our doors to open at 7 a.m. to get warm and get a meal.

“This is simply unacceptable for us to tolerate as a society,” added Downey. “Learning more about their circumstances will help us devise better tailored solutions, which is what we’ve been worked toward at Serving Seniors.”

Downey praised the many volunteers including elected officials and their staff members from the local, county, and state level for their participation in the Point In Time Count. “Nothing substitutes for this firsthand field experience. It will be useful as we work together to create programs addressing this ongoing challenge,” said Downey.

Data collected during the PITC is critical to effective planning and program management toward the goal of ending homelessness in San Diego County, and for the nation as a whole. Counting those who are unsheltered ensures people with the greatest needs can be addressed in community resource deployment.

The We All Count Point-in-Time Count (PITC) is a federally mandated requirement designated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to be conducted every two years. It is overseen in San Diego County by the Regional Task Force on Homelessness.

San Diego is one of several major cities which has historically chosen to conduct a homeless count each year but was not able to do so in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. All local COVID safety guidelines will be in place for the 2022 count.

About Serving Seniors

Founded in 1970, Serving Seniors is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in San Diego, California, dedicated to serving low-income adults aged 60 and over. A leader in senior advocacy and programming, Serving Seniors has created an innovative model of comprehensive services including nutrition meals, housing, health and social services and lifelong learning opportunities to hundreds of seniors in need. It is the largest provider of meals to seniors in the county, and one of the only organizations in the nation providing a robust range of services to vulnerable, at-risk older adults.

Serving Seniors President and CEO Paul Downey has been instrumental in the organization’s growth over the past 26 years. Since being appointed the role in 1995, Downey has guided the nonprofit’s innovative efforts to provide supportive services focused on keeping low-income seniors healthy and independent. Under Downey’s leadership, Serving Seniors has grown to provide more 1.7 million nutritious meals and coordinated services to 7,000 older adults each year. Read Serving Seniors’ groundbreaking 2021 report, Senior Homelessness: A Needs Assessment.  

  • Alliance Healthcare Foundation
  • The San Diego Women's Foundation
    The San Diego Women's Foundation
  • CCDC
  • The California Wellness Foundation
    The California Wellness Foundation
  • Darlene Shiley
  • Gary and Mary West Foundation
  • Grossmont Healthcare District
    Grossmont Healthcare District
  • Price Philanthropies
  • Qualcomm
  • The San Diego Foundation
    The San Diego Foundation
  • Sempra
  • Trio Community Meals
  • Wells Fargo Foundation