U-T San Diego Op-Ed: Housing First Model Benefits All San Diegans

“Let’s talk about homelessness,” begins an op-ed in Sunday’s U-T San Diego. “But wait – this time, remarkably enough, the news is promising.”

Thom Reilly, professor emeritus at SDSU’s School of Social Work, wrote the column, which discusses the benefits of the Housing First model and credits the hard work of the Campaign to End Homelessness in Downtown San Diego, a broad-based coalition of leaders from the public and private sectors, nonprofits and government.

“What they’ve found is eye-opening. It costs less to keep (homeless individuals) off the streets than to do nothing,” Reilly wrote.

Reilly notes that the number of unsheltered homeless people has decreased over the last two years. Further, the tangible benefits of reducing homelessness extend beyond those who are housed. Matching homeless individuals with appropriate housing and services helps strengthen the economy, creates jobs and eases the burden on public services.

Jennifer LeSar, President and CEO of LeSar Development Consultants; and Toni Atkins, who today is Speaker of the California State Assembly, brought the Campaign to San Diego in late 2009.

Currently, the Campaign is co-chaired by LeSar and Kris Michell, President and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership.