Shopping carts filled with belongings of homeless people line a street in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced Monday that his office will propose a Department of Homeless Solution and Equitable Communities during Tuesday’s board meeting.

Services provided by the county to people experiencing homelessness have been scattered across several agencies, according to Fletcher’s office. Fletcher, who is also Board of Supervisors chairman, said this new policy seeks to streamline the operations of existing services and provide more.

“Centralizing our work involving people experiencing homelessness in one department will make us more effective at putting the unsheltered on a path to safe, secure housing and make us a better regional partner,” Fletcher said.

“Taking this step signifies a renewed commitment to addressing homelessness, not just in the unincorporated areas, but across the region.”

If passed on Tuesday, the new policy will also abandon efforts that criminalize homelessness, and will create greater emphasis on housing and facilities for those experiencing homelessness, Fletcher said.

The policy will establish a new set of guiding principles, including:

— Prioritizing equity in all aspects of homelessness prevention and response;

— Ensuring evidence-based, data-driven solutions;

— Committing to a “housing first” approach;

— Offering to support, not criminalize homelessness;

— Trauma-informed and person-centered care, and;

— Prevention through strategic intervention.

Fletcher’s latest proposal aligns with his “Framework for the Future of San Diego County,” introduced earlier this year.

The framework prioritizes communities and populations in San Diego that previously have been underserved, with a focus on racial justice, health equity, economic opportunity, environmental protection, government transparency and fundamental changes to county operations.

–City News Service

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