Holding the San Diego Housing Commission Accountable for Their Efforts to ‘End’ Homelessness

by on December 22, 2021 · 0 comments

in Homelessness, San Diego

By Mathew Packard / Voice of San Diego / Dec. 22, 2021

As a not so casual observer of efforts to “end” or even effectively manage the daily impact homelessness is having on our city and on the lives of those experiencing it, I am struck by the pervasive and consistent lack of accountability for those in government responsible.

The San Diego Housing Commission in their 2014 homeless action plan, Housing First, pledged to apply “the power of its federal housing resources to achieve the goal of ending homelessness.” SDHC is a driving force of the national Housing First model (transitioning homeless individuals from the streets directly into permanent housing connected to supportive housing) in the city of San Diego. This year and over more than a decade, the commission has failed to meet this obligation.

Let’s review what the SDHC has done.

In 2005, the city adopted a 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. In 2011, the Downtown San Diego Partnership and the Housing Commission contracted with LeSar Development Consultants to develop and implement a five-year work plan to end homelessness downtown. Then, in 2013, the city renovated a 14-story building to be a “one stop shop” for the homeless downtown. The building included a service “depot” where the homeless could access all housing and services under one roof. The project was touted as a best practice to be replicated across the region, but eventually the “depot” was allowed to serve only those living in the building, which dramatically reduced its impact. In the same year, United Way contracted with LeSar to “further implement the Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in the Region” two years prior to the deadline whereby chronic homelessness was to be eradicated.

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Mathew Packard has been in the field of nonprofit human services for more than forty years.

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