Nearly a year after Mayor Kevin Faulconer pledged to house 1,000 veterans by March 2017, just 439 have moved into apartments or homes. More than 250 with vouchers or access to other rental assistance are seeking apartments in the city. County officials report another 100 veterans are looking elsewhere in the region as part of a separate initiative.
The pace could complicate San Diego’s ability to deliver on its goal to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2017, a deadline already extended after a failure to reach that goal in 2015.
Homeless veterans are spending weeks and even months seeking housing despite a major influx of incentives offered by the city and the county to encourage landlords to take them in.
Last year, veterans with Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers, which come with services and cover about 70 percent of a veteran’s rent, took an average of 75 days to find an apartment in San Diego County. A year later, the San Diego Veterans Affairs office reports it’s taking an average of 74 days.
Regional data shows local agencies are helping move more veterans off the streets but it’s come at a slower clip than they’d hoped. Last January’s annual homeless census documented a 16 percent year-over-year drop in veteran homelessness. The county and the cities of San Diego and Oceanside have since thrown more resources at the problem. They’re facing a bigger problem than most other communities nationwide: San Diego’s got the nation’s second-largest population of homeless veterans.
Local leaders hail improved collaboration between agencies and the commitment to addressing veteran homelessness but most acknowledge they’re facing a major roadblock in San Diego’s housing market.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
LOL. The elections for Mayor were over by June so the "urgency" to take immediate action on homeless vets got "relaxed" just as was the "urgency" to repair the streets.
A couple of thoughts about this excellent article. As was mentioned, location is important in housing the homeless. It does no good to have an apartment available in Valley Center as an example, if the services the vet needs are in downtown San Diego. Another issue that that the homeless can be difficult tenants. Many come with issues that cause problems for the other tenants in the building. The building next to mine used to provide such apartments, the cops were there constantly, as a result the building stopped offering such units and the neighborhood is much quieter. It is an unfortunate but real situation.
"Many landlords have said they’d like to provide units but don’t have any vacancies or have units that require rents too high to be covered with vouchers, Kirkland said."
In the year and a half that I have worked locating housing for the homeless - I am confident that part of the reason why rents jumped from $800-1200 is because the landlords KNEW they were pricing their studio outside of the voucher amount. It makes it easier to say - our rents are too high. But it's the SAME crappy $800 studio with no upgrades or renovations.
The bad part of longevity is that you become a witness to the failure of progress toward social issues in California and the Nation. There have always been homeless people. But, there has been no time, other than the Great Depression, when the obvious destitute are as ubiquitous as they are today. There in the main plaza of the Superior Court of Orange County in Santa Ana is a massive throng of obvious disheveled and misplace people. Someone commented about this while I attended to business there and I responded that, perhaps, the County was providing some kind of service for them there. No. The problem is extensive even in the most welcoming of cities, San Francisco. As people in Pacific Beach complain about the homeless at the library there, their issue is that some of those homeless are acting as though they were living "at home" and exhibit inappropriate behavior in public. Many are veterans that cannot adequately provide for themselves because of issues that were inadequately addressed by the VA. are a big chunk of this difficult populace. Many others suffer from mental issues brought on by chemical usage or the lack of medical medicine mediation.
We need to provide appropriately for these people. Their safety and the safety of others is being abrogated by a system of social welfare that is years delayed due to "deferred maintenance" or just plain neglect. Social agencies and private social agencies are bursting at the seams. So, addressing the homeless and executing a program to reduce homelessness is already a very big problem.
There are many costs of homelessness. One massive problem are homeless children who attend school. As many as 30 percent of children in San Ysidro schools are homeless. And, that has long term consequences.
So, what do we do?
1. Introduce again, with better controls, programs used in the 30's and 40's of the last century to provide jobs.
2. Provide, at no cost, medicine for those with neurological issues.
3. Provide housing and food .
4. Provide transportation for essential living(doctors, et al)
The rest of us are not safe if the "least of us" is unsafe and uncared for.
5. The elderly who are incapacitated someway and cannot work must be provided for.
All of this is very expensive. But, much of the development money going to revitalizing our cities is not having a shared effect with the needy.