Mayor Faulconer Encourages Homeless Veterans to Sign Up This Weekend for “Housing Our Heroes” Program

Annual "Stand Down" Event Will Help Homeless Veterans With Housing Opportunities Through Collaborative Program to Get 1,000 Veterans Off the Streets

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer was joined today by City Councilmember Todd Gloria and San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) CEO Richard C. Gentry to encourage homeless veterans to attend this weekend’s “Stand Down” event and sign up for the “PDF icon Housing Our Heroes” campaign – a call to action to help 1,000 homeless veterans transition off the streets.
 
More than 200 homeless veterans have transitioned off the streets and into housing since City leaders and the San Diego Housing Commission launched the “Housing Our Heroes” program on March 1. More than 130 others have qualified for the housing program and are in the process of finding a rental apartment or house. It typically takes one to four weeks to find housing once an individual qualifies.
 
“Breaking the cycle of homelessness isn’t easy, but the fact that we’ve helped hundreds of homeless veterans find housing after just starting the program in March shows that this new approach is working,” Mayor Faulconer said. “We’re asking more homeless veterans to come forward so we can enroll them, get a permanent roof over their heads and connect them with supportive services to turn their lives around.”
 
The Veterans Village of San Diego’s “Stand Down” event – which runs from 6 a.m. Friday to 2 p.m. Sunday at San Diego High School, 1405 Park Blvd., in downtown San Diego – provides free supportive services for homeless veterans, including health care, employment and job counseling, and assistance with Veterans Affairs benefits, among other things. “Housing Our Heroes” specialists will also be on hand to assist veterans and see if they qualify for housing through the program.
 
The “Housing Our Heroes” program is using $12.5 million in federal, City and SDHC resources to provide housing opportunities for homeless veterans in the city who are living on the streets or in shelters. Mayor Faulconer won City Council approval in March to allocate $4 million in City funds to the program.
 
“As City leaders, we owe it to our veterans to do everything in our power to ensure that the brave women and men that served to protect our freedom have access to housing and supportive services,” said Councilmember Gloria, Chair of the Regional Continuum of Care Council. “I am proud of the progress we have made to date in housing over 200 veterans, but our job will not be done until no veteran is forced to live on the streets. I call on San Diego’s landlords to please help with this effort as I concurrently commit to doing all I can to end veteran homelessness in San Diego.”
 
The SDHC, which administers the City’s housing and homeless programs, provided an update on the progress of the “Housing Our Heroes” program at today’s news conference. So far, 345 homeless veterans are being assisted through the “Housing Our Heroes” program, which includes:
 
209: Homeless veterans who have secured housing – including 18 families with 34 children.
136: Homeless veterans who have qualified for housing and are in the process of finding a rental apartment or house.
 
In addition, there are 130 landlords participating in the program.
 
“These numbers reflect the lives of real homeless veterans and their families who now have the chance to focus on their well-being and their future as they leave the streets behind through our collaborative program to provide housing opportunities for 1,000 homeless veterans,” said Gentry of SDHC.
 
Additional partners in the “Housing Our Heroes” program include the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the California Apartment Association and the San Diego County Apartment Association. The program focuses on landlord outreach efforts, financial assistance and supportive services to get homeless veterans the help they need to turn their lives around.
 
Founded in 1981, Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) is a nationally-recognized nonprofit providing a comprehensive continuum of care to veterans in need and their families. VVSD organized the nation’s first “Stand Down” in 1988 and now more than 200 “Stand Down” events take place across the country each year.