SAN DIEGO – UnitedHealthcare has given a $250,000 grant to the San Diego Housing Commission to help operate the City of San Diego Downtown Emergency Winter Shelter, one of two temporary shelters for the area’s homeless.
UnitedHealthcare representatives met with community leaders at the downtown winter shelter on Monday and presented the check to City of San Diego and the San Diego Housing Commission. The grant is expected to provide more than half of the total funding for the downtown shelter this winter, covering operating expenses, meals, leased shower facilities and utilities.
The announcement coincided with final preparations for the official opening of the downtown facility in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday. Located in Barrio Logan, south of downtown San Diego, the shelter will provide 220 beds and shelter during the coldest and wettest months of the year; it is expected to help about 800 homeless people during the four-month period.
The San Diego Housing Commission is the administrator of the Emergency Winter Shelter Program for the city. The program also includes a second shelter away from the downtown area that exclusively serves about 300 homeless military veterans, and that shelter is expected to open in early December.
The $250,000 grant is part of UnitedHealthcare’s Affordable Housing Investment Program, which helps provide critical financing for affordable-housing projects in targeted communities throughout the United States. The funding was secured through the work of the Affirmed Housing Group and Enterprise Community Investment Inc., two organizations that advocate and help support affordable-housing projects in California and nationwide.
“We are grateful to UnitedHealthcare for this grant and its efforts to provide a warm and safe shelter for the men and women who are homeless this winter season,” said Richard C. Gentry, president and CEO, San Diego Housing Commission. “We also appreciate the outreach to UnitedHealthcare by Affirmed Housing Group, the co-developer of Connections Housing Downtown, the city-sponsored one-stop homeless service center that is set to open early next year.”
UnitedHealthcare worked with Enterprise Community Investment, a national leader in the affordable-housing and community-development industry to provide $15.1 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity to help finance and build Connections Housing Downtown, an integrated service and residential community project in San Diego. When completed early next year, Connections Housing will provide permanent year-round shelter, housing and an array of services for the region’s homeless.
The multi-use project will serve as a one-stop service center and housing for homeless people. The residential portion will consist of 73 studio units of permanent supportive housing, 16 special-needs single-occupancy units and 134 interim-housing beds.
The project will also provide resources a person needs to break the cycle of homelessness. This includes a primary health care clinic, multiservice homeless center, large commercial kitchen, related dining facilities and administrative offices, among other amenities. Connections Housing Downtown is expected to replace the need for the downtown winter shelter in future years.
“The downtown winter shelter and Connections Housing will provide valuable temporary and permanent resources that will help San Diego-area homeless – about 1,600 of whom are military veterans – live healthier and more secure lives,” said Tony Lonigro, Southwest Region CEO, UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans. “UnitedHealthcare is grateful for the opportunity to work with the City of San Diego, Affirmed Housing Group and Enterprise Community Investment in making a difference in the community.”
UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, serves more than 2.3 million Californians with a care provider network of 323 hospitals and more than 47,400 physicians statewide.
The company also has been actively engaged in helping improve Californians’ access to quality health care. In addition to the investments in San Diego, the California Health Care Investment Program has provided $266 million in total investments to 45 health care organizations throughout the state that provide services to underserved, low-income and underinsured communities and populations. UnitedHealthcare has also provided an additional $22.3 million to help expand telemedicine in rural and medically underserved clinics and hospitals throughout the state.
From left to right: Mathew Packard, SDHC vice president Housing Innovations Department; San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Kevin Faulconer; San Diego City Mayor-elect Bob Filner; San Diego City Councilmember Todd Gloria; Tony Lonigro, Southwest Region CEO UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans; James Silverwood, president & CEO Affirmed Housing Group.