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From the Mayor's Desk

Family Reunification Program: A Lifeline for Stability

Family Reunification Program

In our ongoing efforts to address homelessness and housing instability in San Diego, I am proud to highlight the success of our Family Reunification Program through the inspiring story of Aimee Woodman.

Our Family Reunification Program is operated by the Downtown San Diego Partnership and is a hybrid outreach, services and rehousing program. The program reconnects individuals experiencing homelessness with their families and loved ones willing to provide stable living environments, thereby helping participants build support systems and establish links to long-term housing. The program also monitors the participants’ progress to determine long-term success.

Family Reunification is a crucial part of our overall strategy to address homelessness in San Diego from every possible angle, and it has been instrumental in helping people like Aimee find stability and rebuild their lives.

Aimee came to San Diego to complete a drug and alcohol treatment program with her husband in hopes they would be able to end their addiction to fentanyl for good. The program worked for the couple, but after they graduated, they found themselves with nowhere to go. They were stranded on the streets of San Diego and on the brink of losing hope.

Aimee’s situation was dire, as she also battled a panic disorder, compounding the stress of street homelessness. The Family Reunification Program, which is funded through the state’s Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) grant, provided Aimee and her husband with a lifeline.

The program facilitated the reconnection of Aimee and her husband with her mother in Oklahoma. Through this program, Aimee received not just a bus ticket home, but comprehensive support that included food vouchers for the journey and assurance that she would have a safe place to stay upon arrival. The program requires a family member to commit to providing support for at least six months, ensuring a stable transition.

"I feel very, very fortunate to have the opportunity that we did have because otherwise, we'd still be living on that beach. Or we'd be dead,” Aimee said.  

She said as recovering fentanyl addicts, she’s certain that left on the streets much longer, she and her husband surely would have fallen back into addiction.  

Aimee's story is one of resilience and hope. Upon returning to Oklahoma, she and her husband found stability. Aimee recently secured a job as a hairstylist, and her husband found employment in manufacturing. They now have their own apartment and are rebuilding their lives, step by step.  

The Family Reunification Program has been a crucial tool in our efforts to combat homelessness. It provides immediate relief and long-term stability, helping individuals and families get back on their feet. Aimee’s story is a testament to the program’s impact and the difference it can make in the lives of those who are struggling.

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