Gloria Pushes for Smarter Homeless Solutions

The interim mayor is seeking ways to better use the city's limited resources

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    NEWSLETTERS

    In his final week as San Diego’s interim mayor, Todd Gloria set out on one of his last goals: ending homelessness downtown by the end of 2016.

    Roughly 5,733 homeless people were counted during the 2013 Point in Time census, and Gloria said more than 3,100 of those were unsheltered.

    During a briefing Thursday, Gloria outlined a seven-step plan to better use the $1.9 million allocated from the city’s general fund for solutions to end homelessness.

    This year, that allocation extended winter shelter programs, but starting in Fiscal Year 2015, Gloria hopes to direct the funds to outcomes-focused services and program enhancements to fight the problem, not just the symptoms.

    He said homelessness doesn't just affect people living without shelter; it affects the quality of life for all San Diegans.

    The first component of Gloria’s plan is an $800,000 investment in the single adult winter shelter and the veterans winter shelter. The money would improve the assessment and case management services and foster chances for homeless San Diegans to find more permanent housing.

    Gloria wants to put a one-time chuck of change -- $400,000 – toward the Regional Continuum of Care’s coordinated intake and assessment system. It’s an unfunded mandate that would let agencies share data, allowing more coordinated service deliveries.

    The third proposal is an expansion of the Serial Inebriate Program (SIP), which had a 34 percent budget cut in 2007. Gloria said an allocation of $120,000 would nearly triple the number of chronic homeless alcoholics that the program could serve, adding 20 more units or beds to SIP.

    For enhancements to the Neil Good Day Center Service, Gloria proposed allocating $80,000 to give homeless people better access to showers, mail, computers, medical care and case management.

    The San Diego Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team would get $40,000 to link their efforts with local housing and service providers under Gloria’s plan.

    For his sixth suggestion, Gloria outlined a plan to give $150,000 a year to the homeless transitional storage facility that gives 350 homeless families and individuals a place to store their belongings.

    Finally, $300,000 would go to Connections Housing Downtown, which is part of the city’s homeless services.

    On top of his seven-step plan, Gloria called on the business community to contribute to the proposed solutions.

    "It's no secret that homelessness is a difficult challenge. By more creatively using our limited resources, we can make a far greater difference in the lives of our neediest neighbors,” said Gloria. “Furthermore, helping these individuals toward self-sufficiency and ending the cycle of homelessness makes economic sense."

    But some people living without a home are less optimistic that Gloria’s plan will work.

    Pamela Cooks is a cancer patient who has been living at a shelter for about a year, and she said with all her social security income going toward medical bills, little is left over for housing.

    “There has to be more affordable housing; there has to be more transitional housing; there has to be medical for people,” said Cooks.