Agency Tasked With Housing Homeless Buys Apple iWatches, iPads to Improve Efficiency

San Diego has fallen behind other cities across the nation in an effort to house chronically homeless veterans, according to a national initiative called 25 Cities.

Now, the San Diego Housing Commission is aiming to house 1,000 chronically homeless veterans by March 1, 2017, along with a campaign launched by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer called “Housing Our Heroes.”

The federally-funded agency is trying to tackle the problem by going more high-tech with recent purchases of Mac Book Pros, Apple iPad tablets, Apple iWatches and Apple TVs.

Jose Corrales, an inspector for the San Diego Housing Commission, uses an iPad to conduct a move-in inspection at an El Cerrito area apartment slated for a tenant with a federal housing voucher.

Corrales enters the inspection information into the iPad where the data nearly automatically becomes available to future landlords and to housing assistants helping low-income or homeless tenants find shelter.

“It helps in that it speeds up the process, so right now, back in the office, they already know that it passed because my results have already gotten uploaded,” Corrales said. “It eliminates a lot of the paper shuffling, with for example, the report’s on this person’s desk, and it’s going somewhere else. Whereas now, at least, the result is done.”

Not everyone agrees with how the money is being spent.

Through the California Public Records Act, NBC 7 found the agency bought about $50,000 in Apple products between 2013 and 2016, including two Mac Book Pros, 22 iPads, two Apple TVs and two Apple Watches. The documents can be found and reviewed here.

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