Mayor Bob Filner said Wednesday morning that formulas that disadvantage San Diego in getting federal homelessness funding should be changed.
The mayor was talking about my story Monday that illuminated the disparity: San Diego had the third-highest homeless population among major U.S. cities in 2012, but ranked 18th in the amount of federal Housing and Urban Development homelessness funding it could get.
“When the statistics are so clear as these, there’s something wrong,” Filner said.
“We’re going to be working with our Congress people to change it,” Filner said. “With my experience, I can work with them on this.”
Until his inauguration in December, Filner was a congressman representing the 51st District, which includes parts of South County and runs along the border. A spokeswoman for Rep. Juan Vargas, elected to fill Filner’s newly reconfigured seat, said last week that Vargas will be asking HUD to explain the disparity in a briefing later this month.
Filner said officials from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness who visited San Diego last week expressed concern that the region wasn’t doing all it could locally to tackle homelessness. The officials were in town to kick off 10 months of technical support for the region’s Continuum of Care, the network of service providers that coordinate San Diego’s application for the HUD funding.
Filner said a proposal he unveiled last week to fund two downtown bathrooms and a three-month extension for the winter tent shelter could help address the officials’ concerns. CityBeat noted that the city could face legal hurdles if it tries to keep the tent open permanently rather than as an emergency measure.
I’m Kelly Bennett, reporter for Voice of San Diego. You can reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.325.0531.