City Invests $14.1M in Homeless Programs
By Ana Gomez Salcido
The City of San Diego is investing $14.1 million in programs and services intended to help people experiencing homelessness get off the street as the City Council unanimously approved Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to allocate state Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) funds.
The state funding is the result of efforts by Faulconer and the other mayors to urge leaders in Sacramento to provide financial help to local governments as they tackle a statewide homeless crisis.
“Homelessness is the issue across our state and cities are bearing much of the burden,” Faulconer said. “Our state legislators have recognized that all levels of government need to work together to help our most vulnerable residents. This funding gives us the ability to expand programs that are already working and create new programs that will help people begin to turn their lives around.”
The City’s $14.1 million will be invested in rental assistance or subsidies, such as rapid re-housing vouchers and a flexible subsidy pool ($5.2 million). The investment will be also in services, such as outreach, housing navigation, storage for personal belongings, diversion and safe parking programs ($5.8 million).
Capital needs that will allow the City to continue its services to nearly 700 individuals at the three bridge shelters will also be invested in ($1.6 million), as well as in youth-serving programs ($705,000) and administration ($705,000).
“Over the last two years, the Council’s Homeless Select Committee has vetted innovative programs that address barriers to housing and can have an immediate impact on our homelessness crisis, and this emergency state funding will allow us to move quickly on priorities I’ve been advocating for over a year,” said City Councilmember Chris Ward. “Thanks to the advocacy by California’s largest cities, we can now implement these critical programs to improve our outreach, expand the range and depth of homeless services including prevention and diversion strategies, and bring creative solutions online to move hundreds of homeless San Diegans off the streets and into housing.”
The Regional Task Force on the Homeless, the region’s Continuum of Care, will receive an additional $18.8 million from HEAP to be invested in programs throughout the county.
Some of the funding will help expand existing programs, such as the safe parking program. New initiatives include the creation of a flexible subsidy pool. Modeled after successful programs in other cities, the pool may be used to offer relief to individuals that don’t qualify for federal vouchers or other programs but need short-term assistance to prevent or end their homelessness.
HEAP is a $500 million state block grant program designed to provide direct assistance to localities to address the homelessness crisis throughout California, $150 million of which was directed to large cities. The funds are intended to provide immediate emergency assistance to people experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of homelessness.