Mayor Kevin Faulconer says homelessness will be a priority in 2017. It will be a focus of his Jan. 12 state of the city address, and he plans to roll out a housing affordability initiative this month.
Homelessness “is one of the biggest issues we’re going to be tackling in the coming year,” he said in a recent interview, “because we have to.”
It’s something homeless advocates, who’ve long criticized the mayor for not doing enough on the issue, have been waiting to hear.
“There’s no doubt that the mayor’s not stepped up to the level we need him to step up to,” said Michael McConnell, who runs the Homelessness News San Diego Facebook page and has been active in local initiatives to address homelessness.
In 2016 alone, bad news on homelessness in the city piled up: A mid-year count revealed a 70 percent increase in San Diego’s downtown homeless population, while a January 2016 count showed the number of homeless senior citizens doubled from 2015 to 2016. Recent data showed that between October 2015 and September 2016, more people became homeless than were helped off the street. And the San Diego Police Department continues to draw criticism for aggressive ticketing of people sleeping on the street.
And while San Diego elected leaders spent 2016 debating a new Chargers stadium, their counterparts in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties all passed ballot measures that will provide funding to house the homeless. In March, L.A. County voters will weigh in on a quarter-cent sales tax increase to boost homeless services and provide rent subsidies.
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So we've discovered that the mayor is willing to address homelessness and provide leadership "because we have to"!!!
The mayor will tackle this issue now that his most wealthy constituency group, the local hotel owners, have complained.
Way to go, mayor...
Finally- lets try not to fund the same old programs but come up with some more creative solutions that tie work to housing. Intentional Communities have a purpose as well as housing...stretch a little. Doing more of the same with the same players will produce more of the same just larger and more.
Start thinking out of the box for 2017 on the homelessness plight. Drop the drug and alcohol/HIV positive paradigm or double diagnosis for mental health...There are plenty of San Diegans working minimum wage jobs, senior citizens, mothers and children, that are not using illegal substances or alcoholics.
At the same time dozens of community activists were at his office delivering 1100 signatures imploring him to stop criminalizing homeless people, and no one from his office would even come out to acknowledge their concerns, out on the sidewalks only a few blocks away, the weekly exercise in cruelty was being played out, giving people who have no place to go, tickets they have no means to pay and tossing their few meager belongings into garbage trucks. This is how he leads?
@Jeeni Criscenzo wow. just wow. The tossing their few meager belongings part.. is that some kind of 4th amendment violation? Illegal search and seizure?
Solutions are easy. According to the Draft FY-2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), there is +$41.16 Million Cash Reserve Fund Balance siting in the Low Moderate Income Housing Asset Fund (LMIHAF) since July 1, 2013 plus another $215 million in Successor Agency (SA) Debt to the CDBG Program Income for poor Neighborhoods, Affordable Housing, and Emergency Homeless Solutions.
Great news that after 3.5 Years Mayor Faulconer will finally be admitting that Cash Reserves Fund Balances of the LMIHAF/SA controlled and Hoarded by Civic San Diego staff will be available immediately to stop the violations of Federal Civil Rights, Fair Housing, and HEARTH ACT by the City and County of San Diego against the Homeless.
How many San Diegans have died since the Winter Tents were Unfunded by Mayor Faulconer and Council Member Gloria in 2014? How many have died due to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith's legal opinion that outlawed the use of former Redevelopment Agency (RDA) funds for Homeless solutions, and stated that RDA can only be used for Bricks and Mortar project, not for people or emergency situations.
The only thing that matters is Cash siting in the bank for immediate use.
<<<The best way to measure commitment in government is to follow the money allocated to solve the problem. >>>
The best way to measure commitment in government is to follow the money allocated to solve the problem.
How much will the Mayor commit to investing in these programs when he speaks next week at the SOTC?
He could also immediately demonstrate leadership on some basic steps that are needed today, e.g. stop citing people who have no chance of paying $130 fines or defending themselves in court.
Or ensure people living on the streets have the basic safety and dignity of a pubic restroom available when shelters are full or closed.
On this final point- Faulconer could immediately request that the public restrooms at Faultline Park be made available to everyone who needs them, and maintained safely. He could follow the lead of Sacramento and other cities and hire homeless people seeking employment to monitor and clean them. http://bit.ly/SacBathrooms2
At the least, he could request the City Attorney to investigate why Civic San Diego is failing to enforce the contract the city has with Pinnacle Development. They received $5 million in development credit to provide pubic facilities at Faultline Park.
Hold them accountable, and keep these facilities open as they agreed. http://bit.ly/PublicPrivateBathrooms1
@lorisaldana Yes, I agree that these citations given to the Homeless are particularly offensive. This should end immediately. All of your other suggestions make sense too.
Wow! La. & SF did something, really? Look closely at the "Homeless" Bonds (J,K), no, closer still! Transportation projects are priority AND of course the pay off to organized labor through a union only construction Project Labor Agreement. I guess hypocrisy knows no bounds. Help the homeless, get them on their feet AND THEN replace them with contractors / construction workers who chose to work non - union.
There is little accountability with the "homeless" bond measures you refer to, just another income stream for government to use under a vague description. I wish our elected leaders practiced what they preach, fairness and equality for the homeless while forbidding otherwise qualified companies and workers the ability to work on tax payer funded projects for the sole reason the workers don't have a union card. Of course the "homeless" bond will contain language at some point that discriminates against local state approved construction apprentices who are non-union, local state approved non - union journeyman construction workers and significant road blocks for non - union contractors, just like our idols LA. & SF.
I will wait for the community leaders, elected officials, Democrats and Republicans who've lost their way to cement their backroom union only Project Labor Agreement with Teflon Tommy of the Building Trades Union before standing in front of us smoking cigars and back slapping at the wonderful job they're doing for the homeless before expressing my gratitude.
Si, se puede! (Yes, we can.... become LA. & SF!)
Left to their own devices, developers will continue to build new single family housing and condos whose price starts at half a million buck and up. They can make bigger profits by building larger homes and condos and selling them to snowbirds coming here from colder climes and upward mobile yuppies. Why would they builder smaller units and charge less for them when the market rewards them for building larger units at higher prices? If local politicians ever get serious about creating more affordable housing here, they will have to use their land use planning and zoning powers to require some developers to build smaller, more affordable housing units. Given that local politicians thrive on campaign contributions from those same developers, I won't hold my breath.