A latest report by the Division of Housing and City Growth discovered town of San Diego and the encircling county had the fourth-highest inhabitants of homeless folks within the nation – a disaster prompting metropolis officers to take huge, but expensive, steps to get the scenario below management.

In one of many extra dramatic strikes by California communities grappling with a rising homeless inhabitants, town has pursued the development of huge taxpayer-funded tents, trailers and different services to deal with these in any other case residing on the streets and of their vehicles.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, signed off final week on a Metropolis Council-approved $11 million contract to fund by way of June 2020 three such “bridge shelters” for the homeless and a facility for folks to retailer their belongings. The contract additionally laid the groundwork for the development of a fourth bridge shelter.

“We’re taking dramatic motion to maneuver homeless folks off the streets and get them assist,” Faulconer informed Fox Information. “Our technique is to attach, assist and shelter them.”

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The plan contains secure parking zones for folks residing of their vehicles or RVs.


One of three temporary homeless shelters in San Diego, Calif. (Photo courtesy of Matt Shupe)

One among three momentary homeless shelters in San Diego, Calif. (Photograph courtesy of Matt Shupe)

Whereas different cities within the state have pursued their very own counter-measures – Los Angeles has arrange trailers downtown for homeless residents – Faulconer mentioned his plan is displaying progress because the first shelter was in-built 2017 on the peak of a hepatitis A outbreak affecting San Diego’s homeless inhabitants. The HUD report estimated the inhabitants to be 8,000 in San Diego County, with 5,000 of them within the metropolis. Nevertheless, metropolis officers say they’ve seen the homeless inhabitants drop by 6 % from final yr and a large homeless encampment alongside the San Diego River has been lowered by 90 % over the past two years.

Against this, a latest report back to native lawmakers in Los Angeles revealed that town noticed a 16 % enhance in its homeless inhabitants over final yr – hovering to greater than 36,000 folks residing on the streets.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer talks to residents at a homeless shelter. (Photo courtesy of Matt Shupe)

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer talks to residents at a homeless shelter. (Photograph courtesy of Matt Shupe)

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“I’ve tried to set the tone to interrupt away from the embedded paperwork that doesn’t get issues performed,” Faulconer mentioned. “All people must step up and lead by instance.”


Regardless of the progress, questions have been raised in regards to the financial sustainability of those applications.

The services, anticipated to value town practically $13.7 million within the coming fiscal yr beginning July 1, are being paid for with reserves within the metropolis’s housing fee due to federal funds that aren’t anticipated to be renewed yearly. Whereas the shelters will probably be funded by way of subsequent June, the way forward for them after that’s unwritten.

“Continued assist of those applications with the usage of fee’s property reserves is unsustainable,” Jillian Kissee, San Diego’s Unbiased Funds Analyst, informed town council earlier this yr, in keeping with native media. “Additionally the present apply of backfilling the housing fee on an annual foundation with restricted or one-time funding shouldn’t be a viable long-term technique.”

Faulconer says the primary cause San Diego is having to dig into its personal coffers to sort out homelessness is that cities in California can now not have redevelopment companies. The native companies – which used property tax {dollars} that might have in any other case gone to highschool districts and counties for growth, together with round $1 billion a yr for housing – have been performed away with by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012 amid a slew of dangerous press over wasteful growth initiatives and a rising state deficit.

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However now, with a funds surplus, the state is fighting hovering housing prices and a rising homeless inhabitants – main civic leaders like Faulconer to argue it’s time to deliver again the companies.

“We want regulatory aid,” he mentioned. “Our primary supply for constructing inexpensive housing was from the redevelopment funds.”

Whether or not or not the redevelopment companies return is as much as lawmakers in Sacramento, however till then Faulconer says he’ll maintain working to get the homeless off the streets.

“We’re proud of our success, however we’re being sincere with ourselves as a result of we all know we nonetheless have a number of work to do.”


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