More Than 700 Homeless Veterans Enrolled So Far in ‘Housing Our Heroes’ Campaign
Mayor Faulconer Also Announces New Steps To Reduce Homelessness, Coordinate Care
Tuesday, December 20, 2016 - NEWS RELEASE
San Diego – Standing in front of an apartment complex housing veterans in North Park, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, City Councilmember Chris Ward and San Diego Housing Commission President & CEO Richard C. Gentry today announced more than 700 homeless veterans have now been enrolled in the “Housing Our Heroes” campaign.
“Every veteran we get off the street and into housing is another step forward in our continued push to reduce homelessness across the city,” Mayor Faulconer said. “We’re making progress, but we still have more work to do. While many landlords have stepped up to take in homeless veterans, we’re asking for even more to open their doors this holiday season and make room for our struggling heroes. We are also adding new tools and expanding existing programs so there is better coordination and care among San Diego’s service providers to help our entire homeless population.”
Meanwhile, the City is taking steps to help homeless individuals and efficiently use resources that help reduce homelessness. They include:
- Identifying funding to expand the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Family Reunification Program, which connects homeless people to family or friends who can provide housing stability while they try to turn their lives around. The City will seek a public-private partnership to fund the expansion.
- Increasing the use of the Homeless Management Information System – a software system used by service providers to coordinate care for the region’s homeless individuals. The San Diego Police Department will begin actively using the system to share data with providers on its contacts with homeless individuals.
- Activating shelter beds for up to 275 homeless individuals when extreme cold weather conditions strike. The City’s homeless service providers – Father Joe’s Village (250) and Connections Housing (25) – will open their doors during inclement weather and the City is reaching out to other organizations to grow the network.
Mayor Faulconer and the San Diego Housing Commission launched the “Housing Our Heroes” campaign last March. The $12.5 million initiative is a call to action to secure housing for 1,000 homeless veterans and transition them off the street.
So far, the campaign has secured housing for 450 homeless veterans while an additional 254 individuals have received housing assistance, by way of housing vouchers and financial assistance, and are in the process of searching for an apartment. The landlord outreach component of the campaign has made available hundreds of units for homeless veterans and there are currently 141 units available for those still looking for a place.
Securing housing for homeless veterans is often a slow process. That’s due, in large part, to the tight rental market within the City of San Diego.
“Our Housing Our Heroes goal is within reach, and with the support of property owners in our community this holiday season we can get 1,000 unsheltered veterans into permanent housing opportunities,” Councilmember Ward said. “But even with the push for this ambitious benchmark we have a long way to go to address the special needs of all of those who are homeless, and I will continue pressing for more solutions to decrease the number of San Diegans on our streets in 2017.”
The “Housing Our Heroes” campaign is one of four components of the HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO: the San Diego Housing Commission’s landmark three-year Homelessness Action Plan that launched in November 2014. The $12.5 million in federal, City, and Housing Commission resources are being invested to provide housing opportunities for homeless veterans in the city who are living on the streets or in shelters. The funding package includes $4 million in City funds that Mayor Faulconer and the City Council committed to the campaign.
“One bedroom and studio rental units are in great demand for our homeless Veterans, who desire to move into communities, such as Hillcrest and North Park—and so we are making another appeal to our private landlords, as we are grateful to the 290 who have already welcomed our ‘Housing Our Heroes’ veterans,” said Richard C. Gentry, President & CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission.
Additional partners in the “Housing Our Heroes” campaign include the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the California Apartment Association and the San Diego County Apartment Association. It calls for landlord outreach efforts, financial assistance and supportive services to get homeless veterans the help they need to turn their lives around.
CONTACT: Craig Gustafson at (619) 453-9880 or [email protected]