Nathan Fletcher participates in point-in-time count
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher speaks with a homeless person during the Point-in-Time county. Courtesy of Fletcher’s office

Father Joe’s Villages Wednesday announced its support for measures proposed by Supervisor Nathan’s Fletcher during the annual State of San Diego County speech.

On Tuesday evening, Fletcher “affirmed the county’s commitment to addressing the region’s shared crises of homelessness and mental health,” Father Joe’s officials said in a news release.

Now in his second year as board chair, Fletcher announced numerous initiatives and programs — some of them co-sponsored with other supervisors — including:

— a tent shelter for 150 homeless people at the county’s Rosecrans Complex, in partnership with the city of San Diego and Lucky Duck Foundation, with a planned opening date of July 1;

— a streamlined agreement for partnership with 18 cities intended to help homeless people, with options such as safe camping, safe parking, tiny homes, behavioral/public health services;

— a new low-barrier addiction treatment facility location in the Midway District, in partnership with the city of San Diego;

— a proposed safety ordinance to protect people working inside warehouses against unsafe and unfair practices;

— overturning a county ban on project labor agreements;

— exploring a living wage ordinance;

— hiring more veterans in county government;

— a possible $100 million settlement with Purdue Pharma, with the money used to increase harm reduction and addiction treatment services;

— $10 million in federal COVID-19 funds for increased childcare workforce and facilities;

— county purchase of a $15 million, dual-engine firefighting helicopter, first proposed over a decade ago by then-Supervisor Dianne Jacob; and

— an outdoor experience program at county-run regional parks covering admission costs, and providing gear, instruction and transportation, as a way to break down barriers to outdoor activities.

Father Joe’s officials said that “providing access to mental health and substance use disorder services is crucial to supporting people as they transition out of homelessness. Along with behavioral health investments, solving homelessness takes efforts from the entire community on multiple fronts.

“We are appreciative of the range of initiatives introduced by Supervisor Fletcher, from shelters to employment services to affordable housing,” the charitable organization said. “What we’re witnessing on our streets is unacceptable. We must come together to offer effective and compassionate solutions at scale — not only because it’s the right thing to do for those on the streets, but because it is the right thing to do for the community as a whole.”

Established in 1950 in San Diego, Father Joe’s Villages is a non- profit organization dedicated to helping the homeless and those in poverty.

Father Joe’s also lauded the Board of Supervisors for “supporting opportunities that ensure all San Diegans have a good-paying job, access to behavioral health care, and an affordable place to call home.”

— City News Service, Inc.