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Use Chargers' termination fee to provide housing

This petition had 3,521 supporters

(Dozens of people hunker down in tents on 16th Street in downtown San Diego awaiting another round of torrential rains. Photo by Susan Murphy, KPBS)

Dear Mayor Faulconer and Members of the San Diego City Council:

As you are aware, the Chargers announced this morning they will be leaving San Diego and moving the team to Los Angeles. As a result, they must pay an early termination fee for ending their lease, which is being reported at $12.575 million.

In light of our city’s refusal to implement any effective evidence-based model to address the growing number of unsheltered homeless children and adults living on the streets, I call on you to dedicate 100% of the fee from the Chargers to alleviating homelessness through Housing First, an effective evidence-based model encouraged by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Housing First provides supportive services after someone is housed, not as a condition of being housed.  Not surprisingly, evidence shows once someone is housed, she stops self-medicating, stops calling 911 multiple times a day, and her use of emergency medical treatment providers for basic services stops.

Our city’s failure to address homelessness is shameful.  At a time when the nation and similarly situated cities, including Los Angeles, are experiencing a decrease in their homeless population, San Diego is experiencing an increase. This is a direct result of the city’s refusal to address the issue and change its outdated model that only benefits temporary shelter providers.

Housing First not only effectively and quickly alleviates the suffering of unsheltered individuals, but it actually improves a city’s budget by reducing a city’s social services costs, including emergency medical care costs and law enforcement costs.  It makes financial sense.

We have a homelessness emergency on our hands. People are dying. The rainy season means multiple days a week of cold temperatures and wet clothes for thousands of San Diego citizens, including children.

Homelessness is often the most discussed issue in the room at any community meeting and is at the top of every neighborhood's list of concerns. I am confident that you and your staff members hear those concerns while you are engaging with community groups and constituents.

Public safety is being impacted. Small business owners are suffering. The tourism industry is seeing adverse impacts of tent cities. Most importantly, we have a moral obligation to our fellow San Diegans, especially if they are falling on hard times, self-medicating, or suffering from mental illness.

The final outcome of the Chargers debacle actually provides you with an opportunity to improve our city. It’s time to start living up to our motto of America’s Finest City, and act to save lives immediately.


Concerned Citizen

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