A Multi-Phased Plan of Attack

black and white handsThe Campaign to End Homelessness in Downtown San Diego was carefully built around a multi-phased plan of attack. Here is how the campaign grew and matured over time

Phase 1: The Pilot Phase
The first phase started with a relatively humble goal: End homelessness for 125 people in downtown San Diego. The result: Fifteen percent of the downtown street homeless population, or 146 people, were housed in the campaign’s first year.

Phase 2: The Institutionalization
The second phase sought to build on the successes and lessons learned from Phase 1. In Phase 2, the goal was to house an additional 100 homeless people and institutionalize our coordination strategies. The result: The campaign housed 92 homeless persons in just three days and reached full capacity of 100 housed in early 2013.

Phase 3: Take Efforts to Scale
The goal for Phase 3 is to end homelessness for the remaining 800 people in downtown San Diego and the 400 people in its immediate environs. The objective: Raise public and private capital to fund appropriate housing and support services, and cover expenses, to end homelessness in Downtown San Diego.

Phase 4: Regionalization
In the campaign’s final phase, the goal is to regionalize the Campaign’s proven methodology to end homelessness in San Diego County. We have more on this phase later in this newsletter.

SDHC’s Housing First-San Diego Program Unveiled

j SDHCEarlier this month, San Diego officials announced a three year, $200 million, five-point action plan to combat homelessness.

Housing First—San Diego is spearheaded by the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC).

“It’s called Housing First, but it’s not housing only,” said SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry. “In addition to everyone we’ve collaborated with at the City and in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors to provide much-needed services, I especially want to thank the County Health and Human Services Agency and Dr. Piedad Garcia for their vital contributions.”

The Housing First – San Diego program will include:

  • The renovation of the Churchill Hotel to create 72 units to provide permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans and former foster children — $17 million.
  • The creation of permanent supportive housing using $30 million in funding allocated over the next three years. This permanent supportive housing has a long-term covenant: It must remain affordable for at least 55 years.
  • 1,500 federal rental vouchers for at-risk low-income families and individuals — $150 million.
  • Moving to Work,” a federally funded rental assistance program, which will dedicate 20 percent of its San Diego units for permanent supportive housing.
  • A commitment of 25 of SDHC’s own affordable units ($348,000 annually) to serve as temporary housing for homeless families and individuals. SDHC is one of the first public housing agencies in the nation to pledge affordable housing units that it owns and operates for this purpose.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer made a point of thanking County officials “who really step up time and time again to provide (much-needed homeless) services. We are going to be working very closely with the County as we always do to make sure these programs are a huge success,” Faulconer said.

This five-point initiative follows the housing first method of providing permanent housing to families and individuals before addressing other needs.

“We cannot be America’s Finest City with thousands of neighbors sleeping on our streets,” said City Council President Todd Gloria. “We are taking a hard look at what is working around the country to solve this problem and realigning our homeless programs to support the Housing First model, permanent supportive housing, and a Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement system. Our plan will support these efforts as we work collaboratively with community stakeholders to end homelessness.”

SDHC has released the Permanent Supportive Housing NOFA, calling for qualified and experienced applicants to help create the affordable housing outlined in Housing First – San Diego.

The San Diego Housing Commission is seeking donations to help furnish the newly created housing. To donate, contact SDHC at housingfirstsandiego@sdhc.org.

San Diego Selected to Participate in Zero: 2016

25 Cities San Diego to Work in Tandem with New Campaign

San Diego has been selected, along with 68 other U.S. communities, to participate in Zero: 2016, a national campaign to end veteran and chronic homelessness. 25 Cities San Diego, the local arm of a national initiative with the same aim, will work in tandem with Zero: 2016 by providing the necessary tools to ultimately end veteran and chronic homelessness in the region. To reflect this partnership, the initiative has been renamed 25 Cities San Diego, Setting a Path to Zero.

The Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement System (CAHP) designed and implemented by 25 Cities San Diego earlier in 2014 will play a key role in laying the groundwork to meet the national campaign goals. The CAHP system creates coordinated entry points for homeless individuals to be assessed and access services and housing – while prioritizing resources on an individual basis. It focuses on a person’s specific needs versus fitting a client into a one-size-fits-all program, and replaces previously used methods that were disconnected, confusing and inefficient.

“25 Cities San Diego is building the system that will bring our community much closer to eradicating chronic homelessness,” said 25 Cities San Diego Team Leader Michael McConnell. “The multiple private and public organizations that are leading this systems design work locally will continue to work together in alignment with the new campaign to accelerate and eventually meet the goal of eliminating homelessness. The additional resources provided through Zero: 2016 will serve to further the work we’ve started.”

Zero: 2016 was established and is funded by Community Solutions, a national nonprofit based in New York City. The initiative is a rigorous follow-on to the group’s successful 100,000 Homes Campaign, which announced in June that it had helped communities house 105,000 chronically homeless Americans in under four years.

San Diego was selected for Zero: 2016 because of its participation and progress with 25 Cities. The initiative will formally launch in January 2015 during the national 2015 Homeless Point-in-Time Count, during which local volunteers will hit area streets and shelters to enumerate the local homeless population.

Last week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development released the results of the 2014 Homeless Point-in-Time Count, which shows that homelessness continues to decline across virtually all major categories, including chronic homelessness. Veteran homelessness was singled out by the report for its particularly steep decline – more than 30 percent in the last four years.

The report also showed that communities selected to join Zero: 2016 account for a combined 31,669 chronically homeless Americans and 16,218 homeless veterans. Community Solutions said it estimates an overlap of 10,000-12,000 between these two populations.

Zero: 2016 Director Beth Sandor said Community Solutions will work with communities to accelerate their housing efforts by providing hands-on coaching and data tools, and by curating a national peer-to-peer learning network to accelerate innovation across communities.

Zero: 2016 will align with other large-scale initiatives working to help communities end homelessness, including the 25 Cities initiative, as led by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Mayor’s Challenge to End Homelessness, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Community Solutions has coordinated extensively with VA and other federal agencies to ensure that all initiatives complement each other.

For more information about 25 Cities, visit www.25cities.com, and for more information on Zero: 2016, visit cmtysolutions.org/zero2016.

About 25 Cities San Diego, Setting a Path to Zero
25 Cities San Diego, Setting a Path to Zero is the local arm of a federal initiative to end veteran and chronic homelessness initiated and funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. The initiative focuses on collaboration between multiple private and public organizations, which include the Regional Continuum of Care Council, the entities that comprise the Campaign to End Homelessness in Downtown San Diego, the San Diego VA and Community Solutions. For more information on 25 Cities San Diego, visit www.housingsd.org.

San Diego City Council Approves Revamped Plan for Emergency Winter Shelter

beckoningThe San Diego City Council has unanimously approved funding and a new operational plan for the Single Adult Emergency Winter Shelter.

The new plan, approved earlier this month, ensures that the most vulnerable people will receive priority access to the shelter through San Diego’s Coordinated Assessment and Placement System.

Law enforcement, working with downtown social services agencies, will proactively reach out to homeless individuals on the streets. Based on vulnerability, individuals will be referred to the shelter, thereby eliminating the past system that involved a lottery and queuing.

Individuals will receive intensive case management and work with housing navigators with the intent of relocation to permanent housing.

This year, there is a 45-day maximum stay.

While the Mayor and the City Council pursue a permanent solution, these operational changes represent a new way of doing business in line with ending homelessness.

The shelter is set to open Nov. 1, 2014 on Newton Avenue and 16th Street. The Alpha Project has been operating the winter shelter since 1996.

Key Homeless Legislation Becomes Law

State PicturenewsletterA pair of bills that will provide new services and protections for homeless people have been signed into law.

AB 1733, introduced by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego; Assembly Member Brian Maienschein, R-San Diego; and Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva, D- Fullerton, will establish a fee waiver for homeless people who need to obtain a certified copy of their birth record from the Department of Public Health or a state identification card from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The bill solves a major problem for many homeless people who need identification to access certain government programs, including those that provide housing, employment and nutrition.

AB 1806, introduced by Assembly Member Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, extends rights afforded to students in foster care to students experiencing homelessness, as well. Many homeless students were at some point in their past part of the state’s foster care system, and the two cohorts face similar challenges and have similar emotional and legal needs.

San Diego’s 25 Cities Initiative 100-Day Challenge to Culminate with Celebration

25 citiesThe first 25 Cities Initiative 100-Day Challenge in San Diego is complete. The program achieved incredible success in building, implementing and testing the Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement System (CAHP) for people who are homeless.

We invite you to attend the 100-Day Celebration on September 30 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Liberty Station Conference Center, 2600 Laning Rd., San Diego, CA 92106.
Click  here to register for the event and click  here if you need directions.

The 25 Cities Initiative is a national effort to assist 25 communities in accelerating and aligning existing efforts toward ending Veteran and chronic homelessness by the end of 2015.

San Diego’s 25 Cities Design Team, a multi- disciplinary group of service providers, has been tasked with designing and testing a system that assesses all downtown homeless with the  goal of housing 150 veterans and 100 chronic homeless individuals in 100 days.

The 25 Cities Initiative will soon be expanding to other areas of San Diego County.To learn more about the San Diego 25 Cities Initiative, click  here.

Homeless Advocate Doug Sawyer Retires from United Way of San Diego County


This month, Doug Sawyer will retire from being president and CEO of United Way of San Diego County (United Way). His many years of leadership have resulted in significant growth and transformation for United Way, and we congratulate him on a decade of service and advocacy on the fight to end homelessness.

We presented Doug with a plaque to commemorate his work and congratulate him on his retirement.

It was recently announced that Kevin Crawford will be the new United Way president and CEO. Crawford has served as fire chief for the Carlsbad Fire Department for the past 11 years, and has served on United Way’s board of directors for five years.

We are grateful to Doug for all his efforts and excited to work with Kevin to end homelessness!


Dear Campaign Supporters and Partners:

In the past month our most vulnerable populations have faced innumerable challenges in the wake of federal actions. Though legislators have bandaged the budget gridlock, the damage has been done for many individuals, and there is no guarantee that a resolution to Congressional embroilment will happen before the next deadline.

In California, however, crucial decisions have been made by Governor Brown on game-changing legislation. Many measures that will alleviate homelessness were signed into law, and we are pleased to announce the positive outcome of key bills we have been tracking. Our own Campaign to End Homelessness in Downtown San Diego is likewise seeing valuable momentum, and, as always, we look forward to keeping you up to date on the latest news and policy developments surrounding our efforts.



Signature Block

Robin Madaffer, Co-Chair

Ending Homelessness Campaign Leadership Team

Jennifer LeSar

Ending Homelessness Campaign Coordinator

100,000 Homes Campaign Honored with World Habitat Award!

We are thrilled to announce that the 100,000 Homes Campaign has been honored as a recipient of the 2013 World Habitat Award! The award is presented by the Building and Social Housing Foundation in association with the United Nations. Two project recipients are recognized annually for their “practical and innovative solutions to current housing needs and problems.” This recognition not only reflects the collaborative efforts of the Campaign, but will also ensure that we become a global model for social change.

Volunteers Needed! North County Registry and Homeless Connect


CaptureInterfaith is in need of volunteers for their registry event and Project Homeless Connect in Escondido. Project Homeless Connect allows people experiencing homelessness to access important services, such as medical and legal aid, at a single location. The registry event uses a new one-day approach, during which volunteers will go out to high-population areas in Escondido to survey the homeless using the Vulnerability Index. The events will take place on November 14 and 15. If you are interested in volunteering, please email Rachel Greenberg at Interfaith Community Services.