Mayor Todd Gloria speaks in City Council Chambers in downtown on June 13, 2023.
Mayor Todd Gloria speaks in City Council Chambers in downtown on June 13, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

A few weeks ago, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria held a press conference on what must be the only subject he can think about during waking hours: homelessness. During which he asked a question — daring reporters to find out, “What other jurisdictions are applying for Homekey dollars?

“Homekey” is a state project doling out big money for new housing. Local municipalities can apply for funds to help boost permanent supportive housing projects. San Diego has applied for more than $105 million of this funding — chiefly to convert motels to permanent rooms. Motel conversions are one of the fastest housing solutions.

But despite this crisis hampering the region, VOSD Podcast host Andrea Lopez-Villafaña found the city of San Diego is indeed shouldering the county’s weight.

The only other city that confirmed they were seeking Homekey funds was Chula Vista — the second-most-populous city after San Diego.

This week, Lopez-Villafaña was joined by reporters Jakob McWhinney, Will Huntsberry and intern Kathryn Gray to dish on all things housing and homelessness.

Huntsberry’s recent story about Homekey housing project that was blocked was highlighted in a San Diego City Council meeting this week.

The blockage — due to enforcement of a covenant established by local company, H.G. Fenton — was “shameful,” according to Council President Sean Elo-Rivera. In that meeting, Elo-Rivera suggested other such companies would be put on blast as the city continues to pursue housing aggressively.

Down in Chula Vista, which very recently got in the homelessness solutions game, its first homeless shelter sits less than a third full. Gray explained Chula Vista’s recent history addressing homelessness, the makeup of its unhoused population and what’s going on with this shelter — which features kind-of-fancy prefabricated shelter units.

Plus: The crew examined common assumptions about homelessness with data and research to balance out the theories.

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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

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