For the past several months, I’ve been trying to understand a big disconnect in the South Bay: School districts there count huge numbers of homeless students, yet traditional homeless counts —like the point-in-time count — show homelessness in the South Bay is dropping.

Schools use different, broader criteria to define homelessness than organizations that do official counts of homeless populations. That means that they can offer services to those living with multiple families packed into a dwelling, in rundown trailers, motels or  junkyards and storage containers, and tend to remain hidden and excluded from other homeless counts.

In Part Two of my weeklong series on the hidden homelessness crisis in the South Bay, I detail how public schools have become a primary social service provider for many poor families. Often schools are the only public entity keeping track of the thousands of families in unstable and substandard housing conditions in the region.

Because education is compulsory, schools come in contact with these children and families more than any nonprofit or government entity. As a result, some schools are going far beyond educating students — they’re helping ensure that their entire families have all their basic needs met.

Schools have their limits, though. They can’t provide housing, for one.

If you missed part one of the series that came out Monday, you can check it out here.

• You can also hear me talk more about the series on KPBS.

Rep. Darrell Issa – who has been getting more involved in local homelessness matters recently – wrote a letter along with several other members of Congress to Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, urging him to move away from the so-called housing first model. My colleague Lisa Halverstadt has explained how San Diego nonprofits have been handling the push from the federal government to use the so-called housing first model.

Council Sets SoccerCity Vote for 2018

As expected, the City Council decided Monday to send SoccerCity before voters next November, in the next general election.

Now, the private investors behind the plan to redevelop the Qualcomm Stadium site in hopes of attracting a Major League Soccer expansion team will have to hope the league will wait a year and a half for the outcome of that vote.

FS Investors, the group behind the initiative, had pushed for a special election before the end of the year, when the MLS is expected to begin awarding expansion teams, or for the City Council to approve the project outright.

If MLS can wait, then the project isn’t dead yet. FS Investors would still have to deal with opposition from other major city developers, organized labor and San Diego State University, which says the deal on the table would hurt the university’s academic and athletic needs in Mission Valley.

The group might have time to work something out with one or all of those groups. Councilman Chris Ward said he remains hopeful the various sides could reach a mutually beneficial solution before next November.

In the meantime, Councilman Scott Sherman wasn’t quite ready to close out the idea of holding a vote this year. He urged the Council to reconsider in the coming weeks whether to hold an election just for SoccerCity, but for now that’s just a suggestion.

But assuming nothing changes and the initiative appears before voters next year, it might have company on the ballot. Councilwoman Barbary Bry said the city should begin working on a process to put an alternative vision forward, possibly for the 2018 ballot as well.

— Andrew Keatts

County Supes Face Two Big Decisions

The County Board of Supervisors is expected to make two major votes Tuesday, reports the Union-Tribune. The first is homelessness-related – the board will vote to possibly allocate millions of dollarstoward affordable housing.

In the second, the supervisors will consider who to appoint as interim successor to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who will leave her position in July. The choices are current Deputy District Attorney Summer Stephan, who is supported by Dumanis and plans to run for office next year, and two former deputy district attorneys, Adam Gordon and Gregory Walden, who have both said they will not run for DA next year if selected for the interim position.

Opinion: Council Should Revive Mayor’s Hotel Tax Plan

In a new op-ed, Bob Nelson, who recently stepped down as a Port commissioner, implores the City Council to reverse course and call a special election for the mayor’s hotel tax plan.

The measure would raise hotel taxes to fund an expanded Convention Center, finance programs that address homelessness and repair local roads. Last week, City Council Democrats voted not to schedule the special election sought by the mayor.

Nelson lays out some of the measure’s obstacles – from SoccerCity to project labor agreements – and argues that they could still be overcome in the next few weeks if the City Council so chooses.

Quick News Hits

• Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego are closing in on a deal with Rida Development Corporation to build a $1 billion hotel and convention center on the Chula Vista Bayfront. (10News)

• Tijuana’s police chief blames U.S. gun laws for Mexico’s increasing homicide rates. (KPBS)

• SDPD pay lags behind other law enforcement in the county and other comparable cities. (Union-Tribune)

• La Mesa’s Sun Valley Golf Course will suspend operations Thursday and turn the land over to the city in light of its declining revenues. (City News Service)

Maya Srikrishnan

Maya was Voice of San Diego’s Associate Editor of Civic Education. She reported on marginalized communities in San Diego and oversees Voice’s explanatory...

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