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Homeless Action Plan in Motion: Interagency Leadership Council Meets for First Time

Civic, Business and Philanthropic Leaders Hold Inaugural Meeting for Progress Update on Community Action Plan on Homelessness

Friday, February 14, 2020 - NEWS RELEASE

SAN DIEGO – Continuing efforts to carry out San Diego’s vision for reducing homelessness, an interagency Leadership Council convened last week for the first time to discuss the progress being made on the City of San Diego’s PDF icon Community Action Plan on Homelessness.

The Leadership Council consists of Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, City Councilmember Chris Ward, San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) President & CEO Richard C. Gentry, Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH) CEO Tamera Kohler, San Diego Padres General Partner Peter Seidler who represents the Lucky Duck Foundation, John Brady from the Voices of Our City Choir, and Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell, the Vice President of State Governmental Affairs and External Affairs for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).

The council met with the Community Action Plan on Homelessness’ Implementation Team for a report on progress made to date and action items underway.

Updates discussed by the Leadership Council included:

  • Overview of the Leadership Council, including operational protocols, role of the Implementation Team, process for reporting activities, and agreement on the frequency of the meetings.
  • Activity overview since plan adoption and forward-looking progress, with an emphasis on expansion of shelter capacity, ongoing evaluation of programs such as the Housing Navigation Center and the Day Center, analysis of public land for use as permanent supportive housing and affordable housing, and expansion of the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Family Reunification Program.
  • Staffing resources at the City of San Diego, SDHC and RTFH to carry out the implementation of the Community Action Plan on Homelessness.

Items for action included:

  • Analyzing development opportunities on public land and exploring potential land trust. (System Impact Strategy – Increase Production of Permanent Solutions)
  • Implement a ‘Street to Home’ Pilot Program for 150 high utilizers. (System Impact Strategy – Reduce Inflow/Three Year Goal – Reduce Unsheltered Homelessness)
  • Regional HHAP Coordination Meetings. (Foundational Strategy – Implement a Systems-Level Approach to Homelessness Planning)

Through a contract with SDHC on behalf of the City of San Diego, the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), a nationally recognized consultant with broad expertise in homelessness, developed the City’s new action plan. This is a comprehensive, 10-year roadmap that builds on recent progress, lays out short-term achievable goals and serves as a guide for long-term success. The City Council adopted the plan in October 2019.

The plan recommended the creation of the Leadership Council to provide for cross-agency collaboration, alignment of resources toward systems-level thinking and accountability. The Leadership Council will review progress, problem-solve when challenges arise, identify funding and resources for implementation, and create an appropriate level of both accountability and insulation from political issues.

The development of the plan included the creation of a Steering Committee that consisted of key staff members from major funding and policy-making agencies in the City. The Steering Committee included Keely Halsey, Chief of Homelessness Strategies & Housing Liaison for Mayor Faulconer; Molly Chase, Chief of Staff for Councilmember Ward; Tamera Kohler, Chief Executive Officer of the RTFH; and Lisa Jones, Senior Vice President of Homeless Housing Innovations for SDHC. This group now serves as the staff implementation team to carry out the detailed actions within the plan.

For more information about the Leadership Council’s inaugural meeting, view the PDF icon memo released by the Implementation Team.

Here’s what members of the Leadership Council had to say about the inaugural meeting:

Mayor Faulconer: “Our region is coming together like never before to work collaboratively to do our part to address the statewide homeless crisis. We’re moving forward with our action plan to significantly reduce homelessness in our community, so it’s crucial that local leadership, including those who’ve experienced life on our streets, meet regularly to hold ourselves accountable to keep making progress toward our shared goals every day.”

Supervisor Fletcher: “Right now, there is an unprecedented level of resources and attention being directed toward the homelessness crisis by Governor Gavin Newsom and local jurisdictions. Along with mental health and substance abuse issues, we know poverty is the root cause of homelessness. We must tackle issues of wage and income inequality along with the cost of housing, and better manage the available supply of affordable housing, that is the only way we will stop the systemic cycle of homelessness. We all have a responsibility to ensure the actions we are taking are being done in the most effective way, to help the most people – that is the role of the Leadership Council, and other groups responsible for helping the unsheltered.”

Councilmember Ward: “The initial steps in the City’s Community Action Plan on Homelessness are well underway and the coordination of partners has been critical to meeting early targets and tackling key items. The Leadership Council demonstrated that we will continue to implement best practices, monitor results and be innovative – including an analysis of public land for affordable housing development – in order to best serve homeless San Diegans.”

Gentry of SDHC: “The Leadership Council reflects the citywide and regional commitment to ongoing collaboration as progress continues toward achieving the short- and long-term goals in the City’s Community Action Plan on Homelessness. I look forward to the expanding positive impact this plan will have in addressing homelessness in the City as we work together to identify and implement solutions that build upon the efforts underway in the City.”

Kohler of RTFH: “The City’s Community Action Plan on Homelessness, with oversight and direction from the Leadership Council, is essential to the development of the regional plan to address homelessness, which is underway. With diverse professional and life experiences, the members of the Leadership Council provide crucial insight that will support the City’s Action Plan and a strong regional homelessness system.”

Brady of Voices of Our City Choir: “It is good to see City and County officials working together in coordination with The Regional Task Force on Homelessness, the Housing Commission, business and philanthropic interests to drive our homeless action plan forward in a meaningful way. I look forward to moving the ball forward meaningfully in 2020.”

Mitchell of SDG&E: “The homelessness crisis is impacting our entire region and this collaborative effort of business, government and the nonprofit sector is a great way to focus on creating a comprehensive solution.”

Seidler of the Padres: “Four years ago, Dan Shea and I began an effort in the business and philanthropic community to push San Diego to be “best-in-class” in all areas of homelessness. We continue to believe a tireless, energetic private/public approach is the only way. The first meeting of our Leadership Council impressed me as the group focused on following the data and facts to both compassionately help homeless individuals and make our city stronger and safer. It particularly heartens me to see the continuous progress in San Diego toward ending youth and veteran homelessness in a fiscally responsible manner.”

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