Mayor Todd Gloria and County Oversight Chairman Nathan Fletcher on Friday detailed a new two-phase strategy to tackle homelessness, especially those that address chronic homelessness and substance abuse disorders.
Local leaders have said they will spend nearly $ 100 million on services and outreach programs aimed specifically at homeless people with the most unique needs.
“Homelessness is the most pressing challenge facing our region,” said Gloria. “The city and county are intertwined and fully committed to implementing sound policies and proven strategies that will make a transformational difference in the lives of homeless people. “
The first phase of the strategy will begin on June 28. Outreach teams will take to the streets for a coordinated and geographically focused month-long awareness campaign to connect homeless people with immediate shelter and other services.
The first phase of the strategy, which is due to begin June 28, relies on a fleet of outreach workers from PATH, the Downtown San Diego Partnership, Father Joe’s Villages and Project Alpha who will first be deployed to central San Diego. Diego before expanding to other regions. County.
This area, according to the annual Point in Time County of the San Diego Regional Task Force, currently and historically has the largest concentration of homeless people, the city said.
“Each homeless person has their own circumstances, but substance abuse and mental health issues are common contributors to chronic homelessness, requiring a distinct response to meet their unique needs,” said Fletcher. “We are investing in a better way, a different approach to what we have done in the past. We hope to achieve better results with this strategy.”
The teams will provide outreach and engagement services, connection to primary care and behavioral health services, and bridging housing, including Safe Haven housing, to people with chronic addiction and mental health issues.
Outreach teams will be supported by county public health nurses and social workers from the Office of Homelessness Solutions and Equitable Communities, who will provide on-site support with public assistance programs. The San Diego Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team will play a supporting role, including transportation and logistics.
The mayor also said capacity will increase at four homeless shelters, now that the lifting of COVID-19 precautions has allowed for more capacity. Over the next few weeks, approximately 300 beds will be added at the Paul Mirabile Center, two shelters in East Village and Connections Housing, bringing the total capacity to approximately 1,400 beds.
In Phase 2, Community Harm Reduction Teams (C-HRT) will engage people with very complex and acute needs who are homeless and at increased risk of harm due to substance use and health issues. mental, depending on the city.
The teams will provide addiction counselors, peer support, mental health clinicians, and psychiatric consultations with nurse practitioners. They will also connect people not accommodated to specialized temporary housing, regardless of their sobriety status. The city said there are currently no shelters for those who are not sober or who are not actively engaged in sobriety.
The county and city will dedicate American Rescue Plan Act funds to this effort.
A total of $ 10 million from the city’s budget is dedicated to funding the operational costs of the expanded accommodation space and safe haven and other complementary programs, and additional federal and state resources will support the acquisition of permanent supportive housing.
The county will provide funding for the C-HRT teams, as well as behavioral health and support services at the new shelter bridge and Safe Haven sites.
The county will also explore the availability of more short-term and long-term housing resources across the county that align with the harm reduction strategy.