NATION’S TOP HOUSING OFFICIAL VISITS SAN DIEGO ON LAST STOP IN TOUR OF HOMELESSNESS IN WEST COAST CITIES
San Diego – At the Veteran’s Village of San Diego campus, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer met today with U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson to discuss solutions to homelessness and continued federal support for San Diego’s innovative programs.
“San Diego is taking significant action to reduce homelessness, so I appreciated Secretary Carson once again personally visiting our city to see how we’re doing things differently,” Mayor Faulconer said. “We have creative programs that are making a difference, and we can’t do it alone. Continued support from the state and federal government is critical to not only running these programs but also expanding them to tackle this crisis.”
The meeting, which came at the request of HUD, was a late add to Secretary Carson’s planned tour of the Veteran’s Village campus and bridge shelter. San Diego is one of several cities he visited in California this week. Other cities included San Francisco and Los Angeles. Secretary Carson was last in San Diego in February to tour one of the City’s bridge shelters.
San Diego County did not see the spike in homelessness that many other California regions experienced this year. San Diego’s 2019 “Point-In-Time Count” of the homeless population reported a decrease of 6 percent.
“The leadership in San Diego has a grasp of the homelessness situation, which stems in part from rising housing costs,” Secretary Carson said. “To reduce homelessness in San Diego, the city has developed a housing plan which takes the appropriate steps to alleviate some of the impediments to the production of affordable housing. These actions can make a big difference.”
Topics discussed in their 30-minute meeting include:
- Appreciation to HUD for recent investments in San Diego
- The department provided $20 million in additional funding for vouchers to offset rising rents in San Diego
- The department awarded a Youth Opportunity Grant to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless in 2018
Support of innovative solutions championed in San Diego like bridge shelters, storage facilities and safe parking program San Diego’s Landlord Engagement and Assistance Program
- More than 2,000 homeless individuals have been connected to vacant apartments so far
- Developed by Mayor Faulconer’s office and the San Diego Housing Commission, the program grew out of the successful Housing Our Heroes pilot project for homeless veterans
The urgent need for housing reform in California
- The San Diego City Council recently passed key legislation from the Mayor to allow over-the-counter permits for housing that serves the formerly homeless
- The City of San Diego continues to eliminate regulatory roadblocks that stand in the way of building new homes near transit and job centers
The unfortunate mental health and substance abuse crisis that afflicts many who are experiencing homelessness Under the direction of Mayor Faulconer, San Diego has seen the largest expansion of homeless services in city history including:
- Constructing three temporary bridge shelters that serve nearly 700 individuals each night, with a fourth on the way
- Opening a new storage facility where individuals can safely store their belongings while they access services, go to school or attend a job interview. A second storage site is set to open later this fall
- Expanding a proven successful Safe Parking Program for individuals living out of their vehicles
- Establishing a one-stop-shop for homeless services Downtown which is set to open later this fall
- Investing more in outreach programs to connect individuals living on the streets, in the riverbed or canyons to services
San Diego’s innovative programs have drawn attention from cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, Phoenix and dozens more. Delegations from Canada, Mexico and other countries have also visited.