By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
August 17, 2016 (San Diego) --San Diego area landlords: homeless people need your help.
The County of San Diego and its many partners are looking for landlords who are willing to rent apartments to help house 130 people who are currently homeless.
Thirty of them have been identified through the Project One for All initiative, a comprehensive program to help homeless people with serious mental illness find a place to live and receive intensive treatment services. The other 100 people are homeless veterans who have received a Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher from the County, made available through funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and are ready to move into a home.
All 130 people now have the funds to pay their rent, but need to find homes.
“We know there are landlords in the region who are willing to help the homeless, and I’m grateful to those willing to step forward,” said Chairman Ron Roberts, who, together with Supervisor Greg Cox, spearheaded the effort to establish Project One for All.
“We need homes for vulnerable men and women who have no place to live,” Cox said.
According to the 2016 Point in Time Count, there were nearly 8,700 people without a permanent home in San Diego County. Of those, 57 percent were living on the streets and the remaining were living in temporary housing. Fourteen percent of people living on the streets had serious mental health conditions.
The County and its partners are tackling homelessness by actively promoting the many programs available to people without a place to live.
About 13 percent of the homeless in San Diego County served in the military. To help them find homes, the County’s Housing and Community Development Services has set aside $400,000 for a landlord incentive program.
Under the program, landlords who rent to homeless veterans could get some incentives, including leasing bonuses of up to $500 for each new unit leased, as well as financial help with security and utility deposits up to $1,600.
However, not everyone with housing vouchers can find a place to live. More than 100 people currently have vouchers but the region’s low vacancy rates and high rents make it difficult for them to find a home.
“We are giving landlords incentives and making it easier for them to rent to veterans so that they can help us get them into safe and stable housing,” said Todd Henderson, County Housing and Community Development Services director.
Landlords willing to help military veterans find homes can now call or visit 2-1-1 San Diego for information. The 2-1-1 line will refer landlords to the proper jurisdiction so the service will be a benefit to all the organizations in the county who need housing for homeless vets.
In July, the County Health and Human Services Agency launched Project One for All, a plan to place people who are homeless and have serious mental illness in treatment services paired with supportive housing to fully integrate housing, mental health services, primary health care, alcohol and drug services, case management and social services to help participants become stable and live more productive lives. About 1,250 people in San Diego County are homeless and have serious mental illness.
To better coordinate efforts to help these people, the County integrated the Department of Housing and Community Development into the Health and Human Services Agency.
The County has identified 30 people receiving services through Project One for All who also need a home.
“One way to help homeless people get – and stay – off the street is supportive housing,” said Alfredo Aguirre, Director of HHSA’s Behavioral Health Services. “Having a home helps people with their recovery, gets them back on track and recapture the goals and dreams they had growing up.”
Project One for All is expected to decrease hospitalizations, calls for emergency transport, and the frequency with which law enforcement responds to psychiatric emergencies. In all, there are nine measures the County will use to monitor progress.
The County is investing $16 million in support of Project One for All in the fiscal year starting July 1 and $19 million the following year. Funding comes from a mix of sources, including Mental Health Services Act, state and federal funds. In addition, the County and City of San Diego housing authorities are contributing $4 million in housing vouchers to the project in the coming fiscal year and $9 million next year.
Project One for All and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing supports the County’s Live Well San Diego vision for a healthy, safe and thriving region.