Tamera Kohler, CEO for the Regional Task Force on the Homeless speaks at a press conference for Operation Shelter at Home. / Photo by Brittany Cruz-Fejeran

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San Diego County needs more than 9,000 new affordable and supportive housing options, at least 850 new shelter beds and thousands more housing aid slots to dramatically reduce homelessness, according to a new regional homelessness plan released Wednesday.

The Regional Task Force on Homelessness, the countywide group coordinating the local response to homelessness, contracted with the Corporation for Supportive Housing to calculate regional needs. What resulted was a long-wanted plan that urges dramatic upticks in housing and aid.

“Currently there are not enough resources to effectively make homelessness in San Diego rare, brief, and onetime,” the plan states.

The new strategy pushes the region to strive to halve unsheltered homelessness and end homelessness among veterans, families, youth and seniors in the next five years.

It also describes challenges the region must address to put a significant dent in its homelessness crisis including fragmented leadership and lacking regional coordination, a dearth of low-barrier shelter options, service and housing deserts in some areas of the county and “little urgency” to address a major shortage of affordable housing.  

Task Force CEO Tamera Kohler acknowledged delivering new homes and shelter won’t be easy, but cheered a recent city and county commitment to produce 10,000 housing units. She also said shared and nontraditional housing options such as modular units could also help the county quickly house more of its homeless residents.

The key, Kohler said, will be drastically scaling up solutions including housing.

“I think we could dramatically change the landscape and reduce the numbers,” Kohler said.

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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3 Comments

  1. Is there any movement to bring back asylums? I know asylums got a bad wrap bc of abuse, but it seems looking back that getting rid of them was likely more a money saver than bc people in power actually cared about people. Like, we could have actually just regulated them better. It is common knowledge that a lot of people on the streets are living with mental health challenges. It seems more efficient and helpful to provide high level services in larger regulated system then isolating them in a single human house where they will likely be ignored and self-medicate.

    For those on the lighter side of mental health challenges, are we going to pretend that housing is their only challenge? I think it would be cool if we could build/convert a building to a lot of micro units (300sq ft unit kitchen + private bath), like in some big cities around the world. Again, I would imagine access to mental healthcare, drug rehabilitation, and educational and work opportunities would kind of be essential in these buildings for the long-term success of the tenants. Otherwise, aren’t we just building places that just move what we’re witnessing on the streets out of view?

  2. The above is a great comment. My concern is that if San Diego provides 9000 units as estimates require aren’t we ‘growing’ the need? Won’t homeless from other areas such as LA, Orange County, etc. be encouraged to come here?

  3. Once again Dems are claiming not enough resources, which equals more. The state has spent billions and the problems get worse! We have bought old hotels, given out vouchers, put up tents…all failing. How about, break the law got to jail! We already have several jails throughout the county, laws in place, and a handful of cops left that will problem solve the crisis. Light on crime is a dismal failure. Vote
    conservative 🙂

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