Morning Report: Bry Reverses Course on 'Housing First' - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: Bry Reverses Course on 'Housing First'

Councilwoman Barbara Bry speaks at a mayoral forum in Bankers Hill. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Until sometime last year, City Councilwoman Barbara Bry described herself as a champion of the so-called housing first strategy to tackle homelessness.

As a mayoral candidate, Bry has changed her tune. She’s now speaking out against the model, which calls for homeless people to be quickly connected with housing rather than be than forced to seek services first. Instead, she’s urging a greater focus on addressing mental health and addiction issues.

After Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s State of the City address on Wednesday night, Bry even tweeted that the mayor is following her lead on homelessness, a claim Faulconer’s team disputes.

In a new story, Andrew Keatts and Lisa Halverstadt dug into Bry’s past statements about the housing first model and tracked her homelessness policy shift since jumping into the mayor’s race.

Meanwhile, during Wednesday’s speech, Faulconer announced a “public-private partnership” to open a county-run shelter and a plan to expand mental health services at the city’s four bridge shelters. He provided few details.

On Thursday, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher issued a statement saying he is prepared to work with Faulconer. He also seemed to reveal that plans for the new shelter aren’t finalized.

“(Faulconer) outlined a desire for an additional bridge shelter and committed to finding a location, while I have committed to securing the funding,” Fletcher wrote in statement.

In a statement of his own, the mayor said additional details on the shelter would be announced soon but that he had been working closely with Fletcher and other county officials on ways to expand mental health resources in existing shelters.

Ashford University Eyes Charter Schools’ Model

Embattled Ashford University has long faced scrutiny over its enrollment practices and poor performance and its latest tack to address those concerns is to try to transform the school into a nonprofit.

But that move, if successful, could come with a catch.

In this week’s Learning Curve, our Will Huntsberry explains how a new corporate structure could allow the school’s for-profit parent company Zovio, once known as Bridgepoint Education and based in San Diego, to still benefit from federal dollars while delivering poor outcomes for students.

Encinitas School Leaders Speak Out in Favor of Homeless Parking Lot

The Encinitas Union School District school board is speaking up in favor of a controversial plan to open a safe parking lot for homeless people living in their cars.

The district board sent a letter to the City Council, the Leichtag Foundation and Jewish Family Service on Wednesday praising the program and noting that it could serve homeless families in the school district.

“The Safe Parking Program in Encinitas could offer another temporary resource for our EUSD families meeting the conditions to participate in the program and we would refer them to Jewish Family Service for consideration,” the board wrote.

The letter comes a week after a contentious community meeting where Encinitas residents came out against the parking lot, which would be operated by San Diego-based Jewish Family Service on Leichtag Foundation property in the city.

News Nibbles

  • The state water board has cited – and is preparing to bill – the city of Poway over its handling of water issues that led to a days-long boil water advisory late last year. (10 News)
  • The city has sued San Diego Gas & Electric for nearly $36 million, claiming the utility should foot the bill to move its equipment out of the way for the city’s Pure Water project. (Union-Tribune)
  • Developer Pardee Homes is preparing a plan to transform hundreds of acres in Otay Mesa that could kick off with an 800-home project. (San Diego Business Journal)
  • Nearly two dozen community groups and agencies in the region have teamed to launch a coalition to halve child poverty in the county over the next decade. (Union-Tribune)
  • A City Council committee voted Thursday to declare a climate emergency in the city following similar resolutions in San Francisco and San Jose. (City News Service)
  • A poorly timed letter from a SoCal Gas and SDG&E executive has delayed a Public Utilities Commission vote on the utilities’ 50-mile natural gas pipeline project along Interstate 15. (Union-Tribune)

Correction

Wednesday’s story about an Encinitas forum in which residents expressed concerns over a safe parking lot for the homeless mischaracterized a booth at the event as a campaign booth for Supervisor Kristin Gaspar. The booth was manned by county staff, not campaign workers, according to Gaspar’s chief of staff.

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, and edited by Sara Libby.

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