San Diego Has $80 Million Worth of Promises for the Homeless

by on July 11, 2017 · 1 comment

in Homelessness, San Diego

America’s Finest City isn’t really all that fine, sometimes. Especially if you happen to be a homeless human. Or a whistleblower. Or a woman. Or a protester. The same old, same old, keeps on happening, and like cartoon character Charlie Brown going after that football Lucy’s holding for him, we keep falling for it.

An $80 million commitment in funding for homeless services announced last week is just the latest in a series of moves designed to make people think something is being done by local officials.

The promises keep piling up and so do all the tents on city sidewalks and in parks. Money is being poured into a bucket with several holes in it. There is simply no way these dollars will create enough housing to catch up with demand.

This latest $80 million figure was arrived at by combining federal, city and San Diego Housing Commission funding resources, and, according to a City press release,” will go toward more landlord incentives through the expansion of the “Housing Our Heroes” program to all homeless individuals, new permanent supportive housing units, “Rapid Rehousing” assistance, a rental assistance program, homeless prevention and diversion services, and coordinated street outreach.”

At the root of all this is the reality of affordable housing being removed and replaced with market rate units. Giving displaced people vouchers when there are no places for them to move for years isn’t going to stem the tide of more people becoming homeless.

Activist Martha Sullivan knows bullshit when she sees it, and it didn’t take long for her to suss out the realities of this latest Grand Plan. (Via Facebook:(Emphases mine, lightly edited for clarity) h/t @homelessnessSD):

This announcement includes 733 housing vouchers ($10 million) contributed by the SD Housing Commission to the County’s Project One For All to house severely mentally ill homeless people. In the past year, this program has housed 384 people — while the number of tents/hand built structures in the City DOUBLED and the number of Unsheltered people surpassed 5,600.

The vacancy rate in rental housing continues to drop, making such tenants even less likely to win the rental lottery — so the City is going to throw another $6.6 Million at Landlords to persuade them to rent to people with poor credit and rental history — an approach which has had marginal success over the past 18 months, since the Mayor launched Housing Our Heroes to get 1,000 veterans off the streets in 2016, and STILL hasn’t achieved that goal.

$2.9 Million will go to keeping 1,450 households in their homes, to prevent more people from becoming homeless. A laudable goal — but at $2000 per household, WHAT is this going to really accomplish, as rents continue to rise?

The SD Housing Commission will “Invest ($50 Million) Federal Moving to Work (MTW) and City of San Diego Affordable Housing Funds to create 500 permanent supportive housing units, which will also be eligible for Federal rental housing vouchers to provide rental assistance for homeless San Diegans.” NOTE: these funds don’t BUILD 500 units, they provide funds toward building them, dependent on other funds raised by private developers, which will have no guaranteed rental assistance — but only be “eligible” for Federal rent vouchers. See Item 1 RE the effectiveness of housing vouchers.

As a KPBS reporter points out, the SD Housing Commission head says there is no data to keep track of how many affordable housing units the city is losing, as older units are redeveloped, often into luxury condos; and the California Housing Partnership estimates that San Diego County is at risk of losing 1,800 affordable homes in the next five years.

Last November, the U-T reported that since 2010, 10k low-income housing units have been replaced with luxury/market-rate development, wiping out all the gains since 1979.

$300,000 to “expand support and coordination of existing street outreach efforts.” So — more money for bureaucrats. NOT more street outreach.

The City MUST STOP puttering around the edges of this Humanitarian Crisis and follow the examples of Seattle and San Jose to permit safe encampments for Unsheltered people including sleeping cabins with a lockable door and solar-powered light and device-charging, and group latrines, showers, cooking facilities, and ready access to services and case management. Seattle has done this for 2 years at a cost of under $10 per person per day.

We could quickly build safe and secure “sleeping cabins” for 5,600 Unsheltered San Diegans at a cost of $3 per person per day over 2 years, and just $11 Million total. And place them in just part of the huge parking lot at Qualcomm Stadium and or at Chargers Park nearby. THIS provides a safe place for Unsheltered San Diegans to stay and stabilize, for ready contact as permanent housing is made available. We can DO this, San Diego! We just need the political will to do so. See more here.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the “The Rancho Penasquitos Planning Board has given the go-ahead to a housing development eliminating 332 low-income housing units with 600 apartments, condos, and single-family homes, selling for the mid-$400,000s through the mid-$600,000s, with apartment rentals starting at $1,500 a month to upper $2,000’s. There will be 27 low-income units in the new complex.

From NBC7:

At Wednesday night’s meeting, developers said the price will still be affordable for many.

“The owners, both APP (Atlantic Pacific Properties) and Lennar have complied with every legal requirement imposed upon them as owners and developers.

That’s what they intend to do for the next 40 years as they have for the past 40 years, is to be good neighbors,” said Kenneth Lounsbery, attorney for Lennar Homes.

The San Diego City Council will vote on the proposed project this fall.

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This is an excerpt from Doug’s column at San Diego Free Press, our online media partners.

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar Donald L. Sexton July 12, 2017 at 1:49 am

All thieving dishonest kleptocrats & parasites, especially the SDHC, that exploit veterans for profit while promoting homelessness … includes the corrupt city & county, Veterans Administration, & fraudulent foundations. I am evidence of the lies & malfeasance.

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