The interior of the tent for homeless at Father Joe’s Villages. Courtesy of Father Joe’s

The San Diego City Council on Tuesday unanimously pledged to build more than 1,000 total housing units for the city’s homeless population by January 2021.

Under the resolution approved on a 9-0 vote, at least 140 units of permanent supportive housing will be added in each council district by January 2021, totaling 1,260 units.

The Los Angeles City Council approved a similar plan in February to build at least 222 new housing units in each of its 15 districts by July 2020.

According to data from San Diego’s 2018 Point in Time Homeless Count, there are around 2,630 homeless and unsheltered residents in the city as well as roughly 1,227 households that deal with chronic homelessness.

“This action demonstrates the commitment of this City Council to creating real housing opportunities designed to lift individuals and families out of crisis and move them into the safety and security of a home,” said District 3 City Councilman Chris Ward. “I look forward to working with my council colleagues to ensure supportive housing is distributed equitably throughout San Diego so we can effectively meet citywide housing needs.”

Permanent supportive housing combines low-barrier housing units with support services like job training and physical and mental health care. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness and data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, permanent supportive housing has reduced the number of people dealing with chronic homelessness by 27 percent from 2007 to 2017.

Ward’s district, which includes downtown San Diego, North Park, Hillcrest, Little Italy and Old Town, currently paces the other eight both in the number of homeless residents, with 1,093, and the number of supportive housing units, with 999. District 9, represented by Georgette Gomez, has the second-highest number of supportive housing units at 116. Districts 1, 2 and 5 all had zero supportive housing units when the city collected homelessness data earlier this year.

— City News Service

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