San Diego

San Diego ‘Homelessness Czar' Off City Payroll; No Explanation

The point person for San Diego's homelessness crisis is now gone after seven months on the job.

The mayor's office isn't saying why her position became vacant.

Stacie Spector has worked in the Clinton Administration and at UC San Diego, where she was a vice chancellor.

But she had no specific background in homelessness to serve as Mayor Kevin Faulconer's "Senior Advisor for Housing Solutions".

Spector is credited with dedication to a problem that keeps growing.

“Any homelessness is a complicated question,” said Tom Theisen, former chairman of the Regional Task Force on Homelessness. “A lot of other communities have had great success doing that. In San Diego, we're still sort of stuck in this model of shelters, assessment centers and things like that. And that's really where Stacie was."

Spector's annual salary was $180,000 -- almost double what Mayor Faulconer makes.

She worked closely with wealthy Faulconer supporters also committed to homelessness issues.

Even so, the city's "unsheltered" population increased by 18 percent in the most recent year-to-year count.

Those considered "sheltered" are taking refuge in tents, cars, trucks and vans.

There's been disagreement over priorities such as "emergency" beds versus long-term housing priorities.

Homeless advocates say more coordination and efficiency is needed in investing a lot of money that's actually available.

“A lot of it is just the leadership,” Michael McConnell told NBC 7 in an interview Tuesday. “It really is the stakeholders coming together around a goal and vision of how to tackle and resolve this issue -- instead of just manage it."

In a text message to NBC 7’s media partner Voice of San Diego, Spector gave no hint of why or how her departure came about.

A key line in the statement issued to media outlets by the mayor's office says: "Moving forward, this position will remain an important one at the city."

A ballot measure that could raise $15 million a year is expected to go before San Diego voters in November.

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