Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - NEWS RELEASE
– With the goal of reducing the number of homeless individuals living on San Diego’s streets, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) and civic leaders on Wednesday kicked off SDHC’s three-year plan to direct nearly $80 million toward programs that will provide permanent housing opportunities for thousands of homeless San Diegans, as well as prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless.
Joining Mayor Faulconer were County Supervisor Ron Roberts, Chair of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless; City Councilmember Chris Ward, Vice Chair of the task force and Chair of the City Council’s Select Committee on Homelessness; Councilmember Georgette Gómez, Vice Chair of the committee; and Richard C. Gentry, SDHC President and CEO.
The new funding is for the next phase of SDHC’s “HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO” homelessness action plan, which began in 2014 and will extend through 2020. The $80 million – in combined federal, city and SDHC funding resources – will go toward more landlord incentives through the expansion of the “Housing Our Heroes” program to all homeless individuals, new permanent supportive housing units, “Rapid Rehousing” assistance, a rental assistance program, homeless prevention and diversion services, and coordinated street outreach.
“We need to slow and reverse the growth in homelessness, which is why this plan focuses on making more housing units available, as well as preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place. It’s a comprehensive strategy that breaks down bureaucratic silos by putting more resources behind projects and programs that work,” Mayor Faulconer said. “We’re giving people a safety net so when they become unemployed, face domestic violence or lose a home, they don’t end up living in a car or shelter. And by moving homeless San Diegans into rental units already on the market while also investing millions toward building more units, we can make an impact that’s both immediate and long-lasting.”
“I'm grateful to see the plan includes 733 housing vouchers to assist the county's ‘Project One For All’ initiative in caring for seriously mentally ill homeless individuals,” Supervisor Ron Roberts said. “More than that, today's news from Mayor Faulconer, the City Council and Housing Commission demonstrates our region's strengthened commitment to ending chronic homelessness in San Diego County.”
“San Diegans have made it clear that addressing homelessness should be one of our city’s top priorities and this effort to house thousands of homeless veterans, families and individuals is a great step forward in getting the results that many San Diegans are looking for,” said City Council President Myrtle Cole. “With this initiative, Mr. Gentry and the Housing Commission will be providing critical resources that will improve our city and our region’s efforts to get people off the streets and into homes where they can get the help and support they need to get back on their feet.”
“To most effectively address homelessness, San Diego must not only implement strategies to house the people who are currently homeless, but also strategies to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. These expanded resources will allow the Housing Commission to make great progress on both fronts,” Councilmember Ward said. “As Chair of the City Council's Select Committee on Homelessness, we will continue to work to develop new complementary programs, improve collaboration between City departments and with partner agencies, and further strengthen the City's plan of action on homelessness.”
The “HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO” plan for Fiscal Years 2018-2020, which was unanimously approved by the City Council in May and went into effect July 1, includes:
Expand Landlord Incentives: Expand the landlord outreach program for the “Housing Our Heroes”
campaign to house homeless veterans to also provide housing for non-veteran homeless individuals. Up to 3,000 homeless individuals will be assisted by increasing resources for SDHC’s landlord incentives and benefits program. $6.6 million.
New Permanent Supportive Housing: Provide more than 700 housing vouchers for San Diego County’s “Project One For All”
initiative, invest $20 million to create 200 units eligible for vouchers, and award up to $30 million to developers to create 300 new units eligible for vouchers. $61.1 million.
• Additional Rapid Rehousing Assistance: Assist about 600 households through SDHC’s Moving Home Rapid Rehousing Program, a federal “Moving to Work” initiative for families who become homeless because of an unexpected life experience, such as a job loss, domestic violence or medical crisis. $7.7 million.
• Introduction of a “Moving On” Rental Assistance Program: Provide rental assistance to 50 formerly homeless individuals who are transitioning out of permanent supportive housing but continue to need rental assistance. $1.1 million.
• Homeless Prevention & Diversion Services: Help 1,450 households that are homeless or at risk of homelessness to remain permanently housed. $2.9 million.
• Coordinated Street Outreach for Coordinated Entry: Expand support and coordination among existing street outreach efforts to address homelessness and the demand for existing resources, such as emergency shelters. $300,000.
SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry said, “This next phase of HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO will create permanent housing opportunities for 3,000 homeless individuals and families through innovation and collaboration. The San Diego Housing Commission is proud to continue our work with the Mayor, City Council, County of San Diego, and all of our partners to build upon proven solutions to address homelessness with this action plan.”
This next phase of the “HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO” plan follows the first three years (2014-2017) that saw investments to create 523 permanent supportive housing units through new construction and acquisition, award 1,869 federal housing vouchers, develop partnerships with San Diego State University and the Monarch School to house youth and families experiencing homelessness, and provide 1,000 housing opportunities to homeless veterans through the “Housing Our Heroes” campaign. Additional “Housing Our Heroes” partners include the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the California Apartment Association and the San Diego County Apartment Association.