County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher speaks during the "Politics of Homelessness" panel at Politifest, Oct. 8, 2022. Photo by Vito Di Stefano

County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher has been critical of San Diego cities that didn’t apply for a recent $10 million grant program to fund new homeless shelters, safe parking lots, safe camping lots and other homeless facilities. 

Only three of the county’s 18 incorporated cities applied – Oceanside, Vista and San Diego. 

Many of the cities that didn’t apply said the program didn’t provide enough to fund ongoing operational costs associated with new services. 

“We were concerned about just how we would be able to continue to fund operations,” said Holly Nelson with Escondido’s Housing Division. “Being grant funded for lot of our homeless programs, we had to look at what money was coming in and what could be appropriately resourced out.” 

San Diego and Vista already had two years of operational costs funded for their respective safe parking programs, and Oceanside has an agreement with the San Diego Rescue Mission, which will fund the yearly operational costs of its upcoming homeless navigation center. 

At this weekend’s Politifest, Fletcher again expressed his disappointment that more cities didn’t seek county money for new facilities. Moderator Lisa Halverstadt pointed out that cities have argued the up front money doesn’t help them cover operations expenses. 

“Everyone has to prioritize… there’s always limited resources,” Fletcher said during a Politifest Politics of Homelessness panel. “When you govern money, land and budget it’s not an infinite supply – you have to make choices.” 

He used the county as an example saying behavioral health services have seen huge budget increases because of a growing need, which has come at the expense of other parts of the county’s budget. 

“The county’s got to go find the money… that means we have to take it from somewhere else, and we do,” Fletcher said. “That’s where we need the regional response to say ‘this is the most pressing regional issue we face’… we need everyone to bring that same approach.” 

The county has reopened the application process for a second round in hopes of awarding out the $5 million that remains. Nelson said the city of Escondido is planning to apply for Interfaith’s upcoming family homeless shelter

Tigist Layne is Voice of San Diego's north county reporter. Contact her directly at or (619) 800-8453. Follow her...

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1 Comment

  1. Homeless Shelters? The people who overrun downtown San Diego are mentally ill and dangerous. They need to be in hospitals. I watch them them defecate against buildings, pleasure themselves in Waterfront park (standing up) sleep and dispose of their garbage on the streets (directly across from our cruise lines. They are a health hazard to everyone around them. Please stop calling them homeless and talking about homeless shelters. They cannot be sheltered. There is not a street in downtown that is free of this population. It’s a disgrace. We deserve better.

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