On June 16, the City Council unanimously adopted Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer’s plan to allocate $22.5 million in State Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention (HHAP) funding.
Funding will go toward:
Operations and programming, including the City’s bridge shelter program and youth-serving programs;
Rental assistance or subsidies, such as Rapid Re-housing assistance;
Outreach Services, such as housing navigation and storage for personal belongings;
Prevention and diversion and other programs, including the Safe Parking Program, the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Family Reunification Program, and Prosecution and Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Services.
HHAP funding is a $650 million state block grant program with $275 million dedicated for financial assistance to large cities as they tackle the statewide homeless crisis. HHAP follows the model of providing direct funding for homelessness to local governments in line with the state’s 2018 Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP). Both programs were the result of efforts by Faulconer and other city mayors to urge leaders in Sacramento to allocate funds directly to cities.
The Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH), the region’s Continuum of Care, and the County of San Diego were also awarded $10.8 and $10 million in HHAP funding, respectively, to be invested in programs throughout the county and in alignment with steps the City is already taking.
“Cities are on the frontlines of addressing homelessness across our state,” Faulconer said. “San Diego has proven that we know how to turn state investments into real results that get more people into housing. Funding programs with proven success is more important than ever to help ensure that we have fewer people on the streets, not more, when we reach the other side of this pandemic.”
The City Council also approved several other homelessness-related items, including agreements for the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) to continue managing contracts for three City programs – the Bridge Shelter Program, Safe Parking Program and Transitional Storage Program – that have garnered state and national interest.
“These programs continue and expand the San Diego Housing Commission’s longstanding partnership with the City to address homelessness. Our ongoing work with the mayor and the City Council on these and additional innovative solutions continues to support the objectives of the City’s Community Action Plan on Homelessness,” said SDHC president and CEO Richard C. Gentry.
San Diego was one of the only major counties in California that saw a reduction in homelessness in 2019 and then continued that progress with an additional 6 percent reduction in the recently released 2020 Point-In-Time Count.
The City has taken steps in response to the coronavirus pandemic to continue to reduce homelessness during the crisis, including enacting a temporary eviction moratorium and sheltering in the San Diego Convention Center hundreds of individuals who were living outdoors.
Operated by the City, County, RTFH and SDHC, one of the core missions of “Operation Shelter to Home” at the convention center is to find permanent housing for individuals. So far, nearly 140 individuals have moved into permanent housing. An additional 550 individuals have been matched with a housing resource – voucher or subsidy – in a little over two months and housing navigators are assisting them in finding a home.