The homeless in downtown San Diego move along streets with their belongings.
The homeless in downtown San Diego move along streets with their belongings. Photo by Chris Stone

Vista, Oceanside and San Diego are the first three recipients of grants from a $10 million county fund to address the homelessness crisis in the region, it was announced Tuesday.

Nathan Fletcher, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, said more than half the county’s fund remains available following the total of $4.3 million awarded to the three cities Tuesday.

“We are proud to support Vista, Oceanside and San Diego in their fight against homelessness by awarding these grants,” he said. “Their proposals are the types of projects we wanted to support. Each offers shelter, a safe environment and access to services that will help people get back on their feet.

“I wish more cities would have applied,” Fletcher said. “The issue of homelessness affects our entire region and I was disappointed only three cities came to us with their plans. We have a little more than $5 million left and we’re reaching back out to cities to encourage them to participate.”

Oceanside received the largest sum, $3,258,021, to create a Homeless Navigation Center. According to the city, a 50-bed shelter will be open 24 hours a day and operated by the San Diego Rescue Mission with a scheduled opening date of December 2022. The site will have “trauma-informed healthcare care services, public benefits and connections to permanent supportive housing,” according to the city.

San Diego received $1,030,543 for a 60-vehicle safe parking program for families in the Rose Canyon area scheduled to open by March 2023. According to the city, the site will have an onsite restroom, showers, laundry, food, access to support services and long-term housing options. The city will also use $479,000 of its own funds to operate the site for two years.

Vista was awarded $65,000 for a similar safe parking program: A 25- vehicle safe parking lot scheduled to open by January 2023. It will operate seven days a week and visitors will be provided with case management and housing navigation services, along with onsite restrooms and hand-washing stations. It will also be a pet friendly site that focuses on individuals, families and people fleeing domestic violence. The city has committed $250,000 of its own funds for two years of operations.

“I want to commend Chair Fletcher and the Board of Supervisors for providing this funding and for these three cities for taking advantage of these dollars,” said Tamera Kohler, CEO of the Regional Taskforce on Homelessness. “People are experiencing homelessness throughout our region and having local options that support people where they benefit everyone. Shelter can be a safe place and the first step to a home. It is important to have more local shelter opportunities throughout San Diego.”

The county has sent a second solicitation to 18 incorporated cities through its Office of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities in an attempt to spend the remainder of the $10 million.

–City News Service



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Ellen Bullock