San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria on Monday joined mayors from more than a dozen big cities in California to lobby for continued funding for homelessness support programs.
Currently, cities receive state funding through the Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention Program (HHAP).
Since fiscal year 2019, the city of San Diego has received $78,414,999.08 in HHAP and Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) funds. HHAP is one-time funding, so the Governor and Legislature must decide to continue funding in the state budget. The "Big City Mayors," who represent the state's 13 biggest cities, are asking for another $1 billion each year for the next three years.
In total, the city and county have received more than $154 million since 2019.
|City of San Diego||San Diego County||San Diego COC||Total|
|HEAP (FY 2019)||$14,110,397.95||N/A||$18,821,668.48||$32,932,063.43|
|HHAP 1 (FY 2020)||$22,491,840.12||$9,996,652.14||$10,790,528.04||$43.279,020.30|
|HHAP 2 (FY 2021)||$10,632.506||$4,569,898||$5,105,688||$20,308,092|
|HHAP 3 (FY 2022)||$27,480,939.20||$12,795,714.74||$13,709,694.36||$53,986,348.30|
|HHAP 4 (FY 2023)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
“Without that long-term commitment, without that continuous commitment by the state, it is difficult to do the amount of work that we need to visibly reduce the amount of people living on our streets,” said Gloria.
In the city of San Diego, HEAP and HHAP funding have been used, in part, to construct a 138-bed bridge shelter. The money is also used to provide services to all city bridge shelters and their 922 operational beds, and to fund the Safe Parking Program and other services.
“HHAP flexibility allows us to be fast with quick solutions in many cases that are very low cost,” said Gloria.
Mayor Gloria recently visited a parking lot in Kearny Mesa used for the city’s Safe Parking Program. The program, operated by Jewish Family Services of San Diego, allows unsheltered people to sleep in their cars overnight from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Each year, the city provides $950,000 to run the program, which has served 1,850 people at three San Diego locations since February 2018. The money comes from HHAP state funds.
“There are no words. They helped us a lot and I am very thankful for that,” said Rudy Sanchez.
Sanchez, 68, and his wife Maria Carmen, 76, took made use of the Safe Parking for nine months.
Sanchez said his landlord raised the couple’s monthly rent to $1200 and they had no choice but to begin sleeping in their van.
Gloria uses the couple’s experience as an example of the importance of state funding.
“Programs like JFS's safe parking is one way that we can end the homeless problem, get people into housing and keep them there permanently,” said Gloria.
Recently, the couple was able to move into a low-rent apartment subsidized by the Section 8 voucher program.
“When I see people in their cars, I tell them to go to the Jewish Family Service right there on Balboa. They are great people and they will help you," said Sanchez.