The city of San Diego needs to focus more resources on preventing homelessness and put more effort into keeping those already helped from returning to the streets, according to multiple reports.
On Monday the City Council will hold a special meeting on homelessness issues at 1 p.m. at Golden Hall. They will receive reports from San Diego State University, the Mayor’s Office, the County and the San Diego Housing Commission regarding efforts to address homelessness, according to the meeting agenda.
Among the reports council members are scheduled to hear is one by population health scientist Sue Lindsay, executive director of the SDSU Institute for Public Health.Lindsay found that nearly 15,000 people with a lack of housing sought help from various agencies in the city of San Diego between Oct. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30 of last year — more than half of them needing assistance for the first time in at least five years.
It was “unlikely” that enough affordable housing units would be found for so many people, she said in her report.
“San Diego has very few prevention or diversion programs,” the report said. “We need to invest more fully in interventions with the potential to find upstream solutions.”
She said about one-third of the clients entering San Diego’s system of care for the homeless, which encompasses 50 agencies and organizations, have been helped previously.
Also, 12 percent of the people asking for help were previously placed in permanent housing, according to her report. She said that calls for more housing vouchers or subsidies for longer periods of time, job assistance and additional client services.
“Homelessness looks different in each of our neighborhoods, but at the end of the day, it’s clear that we have too many people living unsheltered in our city, and we need to do more to address this issue,” said Council President Cole, in a statement.
The Mayor’s office will give an update on the regional efforts to address homelessness, including new and expanded programs, according to the meeting agenda.
As for countywide services, the Director of Integrative Services, David Estrella, will give a report on how to integrate health, housing and human services across the County of San Diego.
The Housing Commission will present information on Housing First-San Diego, the Three-Year Homelessness Action Plan, which was expected to help nearly 3,000 homeless San Diegans from 2014 to 2017.
City News Service contributed to this article.
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