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.

HOT Team Receives Alonzo Award, Standing Ovation for Homeless Outreach

HOT Team

The San Diego Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) was honored with the 2014 Vic Kops Humanitarian Award at the San Diego Downtown Partnership’s annual Alonzo Awards this month.

The HOT team received the award – and a standing ovation – for its work to improve the lives of San Diego’s homeless population in Downtown.

The HOT team helps implement the tremendously successful Serial Inebriate Program, which provides a targeted solution for chronically homeless who have been arrested numerous times for public intoxication. The program offers substance abuse treatment as an alternative to jail time.

The HOT team works in partnership with nonprofits Mental Health Systems and St. Vincent de Paul Village’s Family Health Center, which provide funds and necessary substance abuse treatment to help chronically homeless individuals break the cycle of intoxication arrests.

HOT team members provide the boots on the ground by actively patrolling Downtown for chronically homeless individuals who need assistance in rebuilding their lives.

You can watch the award video here.

Congratulations to the HOT team for this much-deserved award!

60 Minutes Segment on 100K Homes Campaign and ‘Housing First’ Homelessness Solution

60 Minutes

In case you missed it last night, 60 Minutes and Anderson Cooper profiled the 100,000 Homes Campaign and their ‘Housing First’ strategy as a proven model to end homelessness!

Our Campaign to End Homelessness in Downtown San Diego is a proud member of the 100,000 Homes Campaign. As such, we too employ the ‘Housing First’ strategy whereby the most vulnerable, sickest, and chronically homeless individuals are provided permanent housing and support services as a method to end the cycle of homelessness.

We believe in the Housing First manifesto of the 100,000 Homes Campaign. “The bottom line is that it is just too difficult to battle addiction, take care of serious physical and mental health conditions or find steady employment while simultaneously battling homelessness.”

Furthermore, the Housing First approach saves taxpayers money and has a documented track record of successfully ending homelessness.

San Diego has also seen much success with the Housing First philosophy.  Over 565 formerly homeless individuals have been taken off the streets of San Diego due to the Campaign’s efforts — nearly 100 of whom were housed over a span of just 3 days! See this video for more details:

Nationally, 235 communities are participating in the 100,000 Homes Campaign and more than 82,000 homeless Americans, including more than 23,000 veterans, have been housed. The Campaign expects to reach their goal and house 100,000 homeless persons as early as June of this year!

The 60 Minutes segment on the 100,000 Homes Campaign has prompted much discussion on whether San Diego is broadly utilizing the national best practice of Housing First. We hope you will join us in continuing to advocate that the Housing First model be broadly adopted by our communities.

Together, San Diego can make a difference and change lives!

Thank you for your support,


Jennifer LeSar signature

Jennifer LeSar

Ending Homelessness Campaign Coordinator

P.S. Be sure to watch the segment online, and check out the 60 Minutes photo gallery ‘Before and After – From Homeless to Hopeful,’ which features one of our Campaign’s success stories – Wanda at Connections Housing!

Photo Credit: Kristoffer Newsom,
Photo Credit: (c)2013 Pam Fessler/NPR

BREAKING NEWS: Toni Atkins to Become Next Speaker of the California State Assembly

ToniToday, affordable housing and homelessness advocate Toni Atkins was selected to become the next Speaker of the California State Assembly.

Toni will be the first San Diegan and third woman to ever hold this leadership position.

In 2010 and 2012, Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins was elected to represent the 76th and 78th Assembly Districts, which include central and northern San Diego communities and areas along the U.S.-Mexico border. From 2009 to 2010, she worked at LeSar Development Consultants as a Senior Principal on issues of homelessness and affordable housing across the State of California. Between 2000 and 2008, Assemblymember Atkins represented San Diego City Council District 3. She also served as Acting Mayor of the San Diego City Council in 2005.

Throughout her career, Atkins has been a strong advocate for affordable housing and homelessness. In 2002, as member of the San Diego City Council, she led the City Council’s declaration of a Housing State of Emergency in San Diego—the first ever in the nation. As a result, San Diego enacted an inclusionary housing policy that generated $55 million in funding for the development of new affordable housing in San Diego.

Assemblymember Atkins is chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Homelessness and is focused on issues associated with economic development, health care, veterans, and is committed to addressing issues of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. She serves on the Housing and Community Development, Agriculture, Health, Veterans, and Joint Legislative Audit Committees.

We congratulate Toni Atkins on being selected as the next Speaker of the Assembly, and we wish her well in her new leadership role and admire her continued commitment to ending homelessness.

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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

Now Hiring: Health and Human Services


The Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) of the County of San Diego is accepting applications for a Health Services Project Coordinator. This position “will play a vital role in supporting San Diego County’s shared vision to end homelessness by working with other jurisdictions, coalitions, advisory groups and providers; supporting the County of San Diego’s comprehensive homeless policy; [and] ensuring the coordination, collaboration, planning and review of systems to assist in closing service gaps.” For more information, click here.

September 30 Campaign Newsletter

Dear Campaign Supporters and Partners:

Last month we provided a deep analysis of the Campaign’s performance metrics and housing outcomes to understand the progress and anticipate next steps toward ending homelessness regionally and nationally. We looked forward to Registry Week in North County, considered lessons learned from the National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference, overviewed critical legislation at the federal and state levels, and recapped President Obama’s focus on veteran homelessness here in San Diego County.

At our September Leadership Team meeting, we held a workshop to chart the course for ending homelessness in Downtown San Diego through 2014. We will continue to create goals and action items in upcoming Leadership Team meetings.

In this month’s newsletter we recognize momentum in the work of local agents and innovators, and track opportunities that State and Federal legislation may bring. We celebrate Kelly Knight of DSDP for her homeless outreach efforts; learn about the trendsetting program that one USD grad student has developed to feed the homeless; look to key upcoming regional events; and clue you in to the way SAMHA and others will be maximizing use of the Affordable Care Act.

We look forward to keeping you up to date on the latest news and policy developments in efforts to end homelessness.


Signature Block

Robin Madaffer, Co-Chair

Ending Homelessness Campaign Leadership Team

Jennifer LeSar

Ending Homelessness Campaign Coordinator

DSDP’s Kelly Knight Featured in City Beat


Kelly Knight at the Downtown San Diego Partnership (DSDP) was recently featured in San Diego City Beat. The article provides excellent insight into the targeted outreach methods that Knight utilizes in her oversight of the Work Your Way Home Program, which reconnects homeless persons with family and friends willing to provide support and shelter. Campaign member Michael McConnell, Vice President of the Regional Task Force Board of Directors, is also highlighted in the article. In their interviews, both Knight and McConnell espouse the importance of interagency cooperation, envisioning a central database of beds and services to streamline efforts.

The Work Your Way Home program has reunited nearly 125 people with family, friends, and support services since 2012.

Register for WeAllCount!


Mark your calendars – the 2014 WeAllCount (Point in Time Count) will take place on Friday, January 24, 2014 and volunteer registration is now open. There are multiple types of opportunities available based on preference; you can be an enumerator, surveyor, or a data entry assistant. According to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH), “The Count results in approximately $15 Million in federal funding (HUD) for local homeless services.” If you are interested in participating, please click here.

Coming Soon! SDHF Annual Conference


The San Diego Housing Federation’s 22nd Annual Affordable Housing & Community Development Conference is October 2nd and 3rd at Market Creek Events and Venues. SDHF states that this is the largest affordable housing gathering in the region and attracts hundreds of attendees. Online registration is closed, but they will accept onsite registration, so don’t miss this wonderful opportunity for professional networking and education. Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are available as well.