San Diego City Auditor: Much More Needs to Be Done in Addressing Homelessness

by on February 21, 2020 · 0 comments

in Homelessness, San Diego

The city auditor made a dozen recommendations for the city to do a better job

By Gary Warth / San Diego Union-Tribune / Feb. 13, 2020

The city of San Diego has taken significant steps in addressing homelessness but still needs to do more, a report from the Office of the City Auditor found. The report released Wednesday night Feb. 12 made 12 recommendations, including developing a funding plan and increasing the number of homeless outreach workers.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer tweeted a response to the audit shortly after its release, saying the auditor’s assessment “validates” the city approach recommended in its Community Action Plan on Homelessness released in October. “We need more resources, we need dedicated funding streams, and the entire region must step up our outreach and data gathering efforts to be even more effective at tackling what must be this region’s top priority,” he wrote in the tweet.

The 114-page report includes three findings, which recognize the city’s efforts in addressing the issue while also finding room for improvement.

In its first finding, the report states the city has significantly increased its efforts to address homelessness, such as creating bridge shelters, centers where homeless people can store their belongings, safe-parking lots and a housing navigation center. Those efforts, however, have not been as effective and efficient as possible, and more steps were needed to successfully implement the 10-year community action plan, the report found.

In another finding, the report stated that homeless outreach efforts can be improved by using a comprehensive strategy that includes more outreach workers, better coordination among service providers and better use of data. The report also found that the city could do a better job with outreach to connect people with shelters and services when encountering people at homeless encampments.

Of the dozen recommendations, the first was for the city’s Homeless Strategies Division to work with the communications department to develop a plan to educate the public on the importance of addressing homelessness. Next, it recommends the city develop long-term funding options to pay for the Community Action Plan on Homelessness, which outlines $1.9 billion in expenses over a decade.

Other recommendations include establishing a leadership council, inter-agency implementation team and project manager as called for in the action plan, as well as providing more trained outreach workers.

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