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Mayor Todd Gloria on Monday committed to house 2,065 homeless San Diegans and families by the end of 2022 with the help of housing assistance provided via the American Rescue Plan.
Gloria was one of several mayors who spoke during the launch of the Biden administration’s House America initiative aimed at using the unprecedented federal aid to re-house and build more housing for people now living on the street.
The city received 480 emergency housing vouchers and $21 million in HOME Investment Partnerships grants and Gloria announced the city expects to use that assistance to house hundreds and to fund 1,053 new affordable housing units by Dec. 31, 2022.
Gloria clarified that the targets reflect the minimum rather than a ceiling on the city’s work over the next year which will also be bolstered by a rush of new state money.
San Diego Housing Commission data shows homeless programs in the city helped move 2,645 households into permanent housing during the fiscal year that ended in June. The Union-Tribune reported this summer that construction began on more than 1,700 subsidized housing units last year, up from 940 in 2019.
A Gloria spokesman said Tuesday that the smaller targets for House America are based on American Rescue Plan resources and the city’s understanding of other resources it has in the pipeline, including expected new supportive housing units and housing vouchers for veterans.
“The mayor will maximize existing and potential resources as much as possible,” spokesman Dave Rolland wrote in an email to Voice of San Diego. “If we can do more, we will.”
Gloria acknowledged Monday that the city is spending more than ever on its homelessness crisis and that adjustments — and cuts — are needed.
“We’ve been spending more than we ever have on this problem and yet we’re not getting the results that San Diegans would expect,” Gloria said. “That really says to me that what we’re spending the funding on is not as effective as it needs to be and really need to take stock of what we’re doing on the programs that do work, eliminate those that do not and try and find new, nationally recognized best practices to invest in.”
Gloria said he believes American Rescue Plan funds will help the city “double down on proven strategies” to help more homeless San Diegans.