City of San Diego trying to advance progress of homeless rehousing programs

first_img 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego City Council’s Select Committee on Homelessness today advised staff to move forward with a pilot program intended to increase employment for people using the city’s rapid-rehousing programs, which provide temporary assistance to those who are newly homeless or facing chronic homelessness.City leaders have dedicated millions of dollars to three temporary tent shelters for those who’ve been living on the street. For the last three to four months, it’s been a place to stay for nearly 700 people. According to new data, the goal of getting at least 65% of the tent’s occupants into housing has fallen short. Four months into the bridge tent program, the number of people moving out of the bridge shelter tents and into housing is just 12%.Councilmember Chris Ward, who is chair of the City Council’s Select Committee on Homelessness said the city’s low inventory of housing is part of the challenge of moving people from shelters to more permanent housing. The committee also heard about the need for stability and helping the tent occupants find some security and stability inside the tents.“So people aren’t getting jobs within that subpopulation, and I think that’s the missing link here that this pilot program is seeking to fulfill,” he said. “To the extent we can do that and have more people getting that gainful employment, having that steady income stream is going to help them be successful at the end of their temporary stay through the rapid-rehousing program and not fall right back into homelessness.”Lisa Jones, who is vice president of homeless housing innovations for the San Diego Housing Commission said the occupants in the tents are very vulnerable. “We have a population that is 49% chronically homeless, and another 44% have a disablilty. Many suffer from mental health issues. 37% are age 55 or older so we have a population that is considered very high need- one that really needs time to decompress and stabilize in a shelter environment where they feel safe and secure.Jones said one immediate priority would be to hire more skilled housing specialists with social work or counseling backgrounds who would help to stabilize the clients “so they remain in the shelter and reduce the numbers of exits and entries, back and forth.” Although a lot of percentages and numbers were cited at the committee meeting, one of the big questions that most at the meeting could not answer is how to create the housing that is essential to ending homelessness. Jones said she agrees that city leaders and housing advocates need to develop a broader strategic plan.“How do we best maximize the limited funding resources that we have and target them appropriately?” More funding from Sacramento could be coming soon. State lawmakers have just approved $33 million in funds to the San Diego region for housing and reducing homelessness.Pilot participants will be screened to determine appropriate employment services. Then, depending on urgency of needed services, agencies — including the San Diego Workforce Partnership, San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless and the San Diego Housing Commission — will place individuals using existing relationships with employers. Staff will also work with city departments to fill chronically vacant positions, including groundskeeper, laborer and library aid roles.Staff believe the program can assist 200 households its first year and 100 its second. A household is defined as an individual or family.Total pilot costs are projected to be $3.5 million and $1.7 million for years one and two, respectively. The majority of pilot funding has already been budgeted in the form of existing rapid-rehousing appropriations and grants. That leaves funding gaps of $322,728 for each year. The Lucky Duck Foundation has committed to filling the year-one gap, Kuntz said.RELATED STORY: San Diego City Council moves forward on affordable housing initiativeNew year-one expenditures will include $72,500 to hire a pilot coordinator and $50,229 for an additional job center coordinator. The positions will improve connectivity between existing resources while allow housing and employment officials to focus on their respective specialties, Kuntz said.“We’re already doing these things, spending money on it,” he said. “How do we fill in some of those gaps to improve coordination and targeted programming? That’s what we’re funding — the gap costs are to connect these systems.”Staff will measure the pilot program’s success by tracking the amount of households able to pay stable rent at the conclusion of rapid-rehousing programs, as well as the amount of households that are stable one to two years after exiting rapid-rehousing.Tamera Kohler, Regional Task Force on the Homeless chief operations officer, said her staff will follow program outcomes to determine appropriate strategies at a countywide level.I hope that over time as we measure those we’re able to see the best referrals, intervention and coordination, and then teach and train those best practices to strengthen us overall regionally,” she said Posted: June 18, 2018 KUSI Newsroom, Sasha Foo, City of San Diego trying to advance progress of homeless re-housing programs Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwittercenter_img KUSI Newsroom, Sasha Foo June 18, 2018 Updated: 9:44 PMlast_img read more