The Morning Report
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Nathan Fletcher, chair of the county Board of Supervisors, on Tuesday urged San Diegans to come together to attack the region’s foremost challenges during the county’s big annual speech.
“If we can seek out our better angels, embrace the fight to challenge our most vexing and challenging problems and never be afraid to drive bold solutions,” Fletcher said. “If we can do that, then the state of our county will continue to get stronger — every single day.”
Here’s a rundown of Fletcher’s biggest announcements on issues including homelessness and the region’s childcare shortage during the county’s annual State of the County address. You can also watch the speech here.
A New Shelter: Last year, Voice of San Diego revealed that Chula Vista would return a homeless shelter tent that nonprofit Lucky Duck Foundation agreed to allow the city to use free of charge. Fletcher revealed Tuesday that the county, city and foundation will team up to now move that structure to county land in the Midway District, where neighbors have recently raised concerns about increasing street homelessness. Fletcher expects the 150-bed shelter to open by July.
New Push for Homeless Services Regionwide: More cities across the county have been talking about new shelters and services. Fletcher on Tuesday pledged that the county will offer $10 million in grants to give those efforts a shot in the arm. He said the county will also share a standard agreement with all 18 cities in the region to pledge county behavioral health services for new shelters and other services.
More Housing on Government Land: Fletcher said he plans to partner with Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer to pave the way for a lot more affordable housing on surplus land and partner with government agencies to find land to do so. This follows recent moves by the county and San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System, which Fletcher also chairs, to offer up nine properties for affordable housing. Fletcher said the San Diego Foundation has pledged $10 million to help spark the expanded initiative. “Bring your surplus land and let’s put together a package to master plan 10,000 units of affordable housing,” Fletcher said.
Bolstered Childcare: Families countywide are struggling to find and pay for childcare. Fletcher said county supervisors next month will vote on a $10 million investment to bolster the workforce, facilities and options. He said the county has also dedicated funding to back the first childcare center for county employees and has secured $1 million in federal cash to help expand smaller childcare facilities. Fletcher said he’s also planning to call a special county board conference on the childcare shortage co-chaired by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, the region’s leading business and labor groups.
Action on the Opioid Crisis: Drug overdose deaths are soaring. Fletcher revealed Tuesday that the county is nearing a settlement via legal action against opioid giant Purdue Pharma that could bring $100 million to the county. Fletcher pledged to develop a comprehensive plan to invest those funds and save lives. Fletcher said he’ll partner with Supervisor Joel Anderson, whose East County district has been hit particularly hard by the scourge, to launch gatherings countywide to discuss that response before the funds flow into the region.