More than 700 potential homes have been identified for veterans enrolled in "Housing our Heroes", a city-wide campaign to reduce the number of homeless veterans in San Diego.
Mayor Faulconer and the San Diego Housing Commission launched the “Housing Our Heroes” campaign last March. The $12.5 million initiative is a call to action to secure housing for 1,000 homeless veterans and transition them off the street.
So far, the campaign has secured housing for 450 homeless veterans while an additional 254 individuals have received housing assistance, by way of housing vouchers and financial assistance, and are in the process of searching for an apartment. The landlord outreach component of the campaign has made available hundreds of units for homeless veterans and there are currently 141 units available for those still looking for a place.
Faulconer, City Councilmember Chris Ward and San Diego Housing Commission President and CEO Richard C. Gentry made the announcement outside one of program's locations at a North Park building at Howard and Mississippi.
The Mayor says since the program started, they have seen 18 percent fewer veterans on the streets, according to the Homeless Task Force Count.
Part of the delay with the project is making sure the VA can support the veterans with services. The other delay is finding landlords willing to help.
"And while many landlords have stepped up to take and homeless veterans today were asking for even more of our landlords to open their doors and make room for struggling heroes," Faulconer said.
Securing housing for homeless veterans is often a slow process. That’s due, in large part, to the tight rental market within the City of San Diego.
“Our Housing Our Heroes goal is within reach, and with the support of property owners in our community this holiday season we can get 1,000 unsheltered veterans into permanent housing opportunities,” Councilmember Ward said in a statement.
The City says they need more landlords to participate in the program and open up units for veterans.
Veterans who live in the units say they have been happy with the expediency. Paul, a Marine veteran who signed up for the program, recently moved into the North Park complex.
"I'm surprise how fast it worked, how fast I was able to get a place to stay," Paul said.
He worked with the VA and used VA housing benefits to move into the North Park apartment.
The City of San Diego is also contributing money from HUD for veterans to subsidize the cost of housing as part of the program.