Homeless people line up their belongings alongside Fault Line Park in East Village. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
City leaders all seem to agree that key to solving the homelessness crisis is building lots – and lots and lots – of new housing.
That’s why many of them are wary of pulling money meant to fund permanent housing and diverting it to fund temporary solutions. But the city is looking to do just that – for the second time in six months.
The city is expected to tap San Diego Housing Commission funds meant to support permanent housing to finance short-term solutions.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s team is pledging to quickly replenish the funds to support more permanent solutions but the latest fund-shuffling move underscores the lack of certainty surrounding new funding and the lack of a strategy to address an urgent problem.
So what are the city and county’s plans to address homelessness? The answer: They don’t have an overarching strategy.
The Regional Task Force on the Homeless, a countywide group coordinating the regional response, last year paid a Sacramento consultant to produce a plan. (Here’s a cheat-sheet version.) The goal was to get local governments and homeless-serving agencies rowing in the same direction.
Gordon Walker is CEO of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano
But the plan for that regional plan has changed in the past year. Task Force CEO Gordon Walker says the group has since decided against having the outside consultant produce a more detailed regional strategy. The Task Force is, however, working on overarching suggestions laid out in the initial report that advocated a housing first approach. (Translation: Housing first means focusing on quickly housing the homeless rather than demanding they enter temporary programs first.)