Escondido City Hall / File photo by Adriana Heldiz

Escondido approved its $248 million annual operating budget last month and had to close an $11.2 million budget deficit using one-time funding sources.

The city is facing a structural budget imbalance, and long-term projections show the situation isn’t going anywhere.

It has been here before: For the past several years, Escondido has had to tap into its pension trust, reserves and other one-time pots of money to avoid making drastic cuts to city services.

But those pots of money aren’t limitless, and continuing to pull from its pension trust could be hurting the city in the long run.

And even though city leaders have managed to avoid making large cuts to city services so far, there are some aspects of the city that have suffered because of Escondido’s budget problems.

According to city staff, other city programs and services could soon be on the chopping block if something doesn’t change.

Read the full story here.

Officials Stress Commitment to Ending Veteran Homelessness

An American flag hangs above a tent in a homeless encampment on National Avenue in the East Village on June 9, 2023.
An American flag hangs above a tent in a homeless encampment on National Avenue in the East Village on June 9, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Regional leaders signaled last week that San Diego County hasn’t abandoned an effort to end veteran homelessness despite the unexpected resignation of Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who in March championed the initiative.

At a Thursday press conference local leaders said they want to ensure veteran homelessness is not chronic or common. And that every veteran in the county has the option to have stable housing.

Veterans now make up 9 percent of the unsheltered population in San Diego, according to the January 2023 point-in-time count.

Details about each part of the initiative to end veteran homelessness are not yet fully clear but one thing is: veterans need homes and the supply does not meet the demand. 

One idea: San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said the county will provide perks to landlords who step up. Those perks include a leasing bonus of up to $2,500, up to $50 for application costs, up to two months’ rent security deposit and a liaison from the program to help with any needs landlords have.

“We will be paying full rent and we will be doing it in a way that allows (the landlord) to get paid on the first of every month and there are protections that will be there to make sure that they can rent with confidence,” Gloria said.

The county hopes extra incentives and support will mitigate fears and encourage landlords to open their units to veterans. Whether these extra perks will be enough to dramatically reduce veteran homelessness remains to be seen.

VOSD Podcast: Camp Sites, Wealthy Landowners and Those Caught in the Middle

The latest episode is packed with the good stuff. 

Reporters Lisa Halverstadt, Will Huntsberry and Jakob McWhinney joined host Andrea Lopez-Villafaña on the podcast to discuss some of their latest stories. 

They get into the latest deets on the city of San Diego’s safe camping site, disparities in encroachment enforcement and school budgets. They also get into the story of a 100-year-old company that threw a wrench in the city’s plan to house homeless San Diegans.  

Listen to the full episode here. 

News Around Town 

  • Every Sunday, managing editor Andrea Lopez-Villafaña pulls together the news and chisme you need to start your week. Here’s her latest. If you’re not already, subscribe to Cup of Chisme.
  • The Union-Tribune reports that San Diego State hinted at wanting to leave the Mountain West Conference at a meeting in Hawaii. The school says that President Adela de la Torre’s June 13 letter to the Mountain West Conference school was a “byproduct” of that meeting. 
  • After months of record numbers, a downtown business group’s June monthly census showed a roughly 18 percent decrease in unsheltered people sleeping downtown and areas just outside it.

The Morning Report was written by Tigist Layne, Kathryn Gray and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.  

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