“Housing Our Heroes” is getting people off the streets and into homes.
Just over a week after the re-inauguration of San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, he and City Councilmember Chris Ward along with the San Diego Housing Commission announced over 700 veterans have enrolled in the “Housing Our Heroes” campaign.
Mayor Faulconer said after the announcement that every veteran who gets off the street and into housing is an example of the push toward eradicating homelessness in San Diego.
“We’re making progress, but we still have more work to do,” he said. “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.”
The mayor said he is adding new tools and enhancing existing programs to better coordinate with San Diego service providers to ease the entire homeless population.
Some of these resources 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.
In March 2015 Mayor Faulconer and the San Diego Housing Commission began the $12.5 million initiative to secure housing for 1,000 homeless veterans in San Diego.
They have nearly reached half of that goal in addition to 254 men and women receiving vouchers and funding for assistance in finding their own apartments.
Landlords across the city have made available 141 units for people looking for homes.
However, rent prices can be a limiting factor for long-term housing, drawing-out the process even more.
“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.
Ward adds pushing for that benchmark of 1,000 is an ambitious one because so many need special care. But he will continue to rally for more solutions in 2017.
In a release from Mayor Faulconer's office, they say there are other components to the Housing First - San Diego homelessness action plan which started 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."
Richard C. Gentry, President & CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission said veterans have certain parts of San Diego in which they wish to live.
“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,” Gentry said
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.