Provide Homeless Services Throughout the San Diego Region
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There is a great need for services and housing for San Diego’s homeless population. Identifying locations in multiple areas of San Diego County is extremely important.
The impact of concentrating homeless in one area (Downtown) has resulted in unsafe and unsanitary conditions for the homeless on the street, increased crime, including on street assaults, trespasses and blatant law breaking by those who know there are no longer any consequences. These conditions have the potential to cause a significant loss of tourism and may deter future business owners, investors, developers and residents.
Downtown is the number one Economic Engine and greatest generator of Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and sales tax but the 84% increase in the homeless population over the last 6 years (statistics from Clean and Safe: 2012 – 582 versus 1073 - 2016) has the potential to negatively impact the revenue growth.
Tax growth benefits all San Diego communities and residents, including the homeless. However, East Village is experiencing the largest increase in homeless population, this being over 145% in the last 6 years (statistics from Clean and Safe: 2012 – 303 versus 745 – 2016).
San Diego needs solutions that increase the quality of life for the homeless. Given the ongoing housing shortfall and failure of affordable (subsidized) housing to meet the need, alternative solutions need to be implemented immediately. Several thousand housing vouchers are currently available but housing vacancies DO NOT exist. The status quo, exemplified by the pilot project “Neil Good Day Center”, established over 17 years ago, still has NOT resulted in another Center outside of Downtown, and 7 years of “Emergency Shelter Tents, in and around East Village, is not acceptable. Any solution must at a minimum result in at least two new beds being established outside of Downtown for every proposed new bed in Downtown. Because Downtown has been the major recipient of homeless facilities, service facilities and permanent supportive housing, it is strongly recommended that any new homeless facilities/services and supportive housing first be established outside of Downtown to create a balance of these facilities throughout the city/ county of San Diego. Examples of possible actions outside of Downtown could include alternatives such as noted below:
-Conversion of older hotels/motels or multi use building throughout the County at a lower cost than building new affordable housing. These could be modeled on the Cortez Hill Family Center.
-Utilizing City-owned Brown Field for “Sunbreak Ranch”. Brown Field contains 200 acres of land that is being proposed to house the homeless and will include all needed services and accessibility to regional transportation services.
-Murphy Canyon training facility – located in a light industrial area – for an additional “Camp Hope”.
These above alternatives for housing the homeless may provide a better quality of life for our most vulnerable population. It is inhumane to leave more than 1,400 homeless on the streets of Downtown while waiting years for affordable housing to be provided.
Downtown currently has 859 permanent supportive housing units and 1480 transitional, emergency or other temporary shelter beds and, therefore, I, the undersigned, am a Downtown Resident/Business Owner/Business Operator/Property Owner and oppose any additional temporary housing or permanent housing structures for the homeless in any of Downtown neighborhood areas without first implementing the aforementioned 2 for 1 model being established outside of Downtown, and strongly support the alternatives listed above.
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