A group of friends that are volunteers bring food, water and blankets to people living in a homeless encampment on Commercial Street in downtown on March 30, 2023.
A group of friends that are volunteers bring food, water and blankets to people living in a homeless encampment on Commercial Street in downtown on March 30, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

The County Board of Supervisors voted this week to approve loans to help the city of San Diego buy three hotels and an apartment building to house homeless residents.

But it wasn’t without controversy.

Local Republicans, including Supervisor Jim Desmond, pushed back. Specifically, Desmond, Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey and El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells argued housing alone won’t solve the region’s homelessness crisis. They say housing is only part of the solution and must be coupled with mandatory drug and addiction treatment.

This week on the VOSD Podcast, hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña discuss the evolution of homeless solutions over the last decade — and how they’ve been wielded by leaders and policy wonks — including “housing first” versus “transitional housing.”

Pro tip: If all these terms are new to you, Lisa Halverstadt put together this handy explainer a couple years ago. Read it here.

Speaking from experience: Escondido Mayor Dane White, a Republican, said in a recent story by Voice’s Tigist Layne that he wants to use his experiences to inform the city’s approach to homelessness. White was homeless and addicted to drugs more than 10 years ago, and said he needed shelter and addiction recovery treatment to get back on his feet. He aims to increase the availability of both as he begins to shape his tenure as the city’s youngest mayor ever.

Freeways Way Cool

Freeways are critical to the state and the country. They’re a natural part of how we do most everything, especially in San Diego. But have they gone too far?

The proliferation of freeways enabled economic growth and connectivity throughout the country — while also creating displacement and division.

KPBS reporter Andrew Bowen has a new podcast, “Freeway Exit,” dedicated to freeways, their impact and history. He joined us during the last segment of the show to share what he’s learned about the creation and costs of freeways.

Producer’s note: Mustachioed nerds, Bowen and Keatts, went deep on this one. So in this episode, I cut an abridged version of their conversation. The full interview will drop as a bonus episode next week. Stay subscribed.

Listen Now

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Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at nate@vosd.org.

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  1. As usual, everyone dances around the issue of homelessness without discussing the primary reason more people are living on the streets than before Todd Gloria was elected. The county is ready to throw a few million more taxpayer dollars at the problem, without any discussion of why homelessness is a growing crisis. When are VOSD and other local media outlets begin examining recent state and city zoning laws and policy changes and the way those actions have led to increased homelessness here.

    Any fool can see that when state and local governments upzone land, they increase its value (and increase property tax revenues) and give developers to buy up older homes in established neighborhoods, evict the occupants, and build high-end “market rate” apartments on what were single family home parcels. What percentage of tenants and occupants of those older homes end up homeless? VOSD is doing a series of articles profiling homeless individuals and couples. How many of those people were made homeless when their homes were demolished or redeveloper into taller, higher density housing units catering to wealthier buyers? Why doesn’t it focus more on how and why those people became homeless? Who profits by making people homeless? Follow the money.

  2. Thanks for inviting Andrew Bowen onto the podcast to discuss the historic impacts of freeways on San Diego and potential ways people are looking at to mitigate some of those impacts and reconnect communities split in two by freeways in the past. Please encourage more listeners to turn into Bowen’s Freeway Exists podcast. With increasing infrastructure funding becoming available, I believe that freeway lids or caps may become more feasible and affordable over time.

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