A regionwide study of why so many Black residents in San Diego are homeless revealed that service providers disproportionately suspend them from homeless shelters.
Around the same time, city and San Diego Housing Commission officials learned that Father Joe’s Villages, the city’s largest homeless service provider, had barred a longer list of clients from accessing its services than other providers and was disproportionately banning Black people.
In a new story, Lisa Halverstadt reveals that the Housing Commission is now urging Father Joe’s to make significant changes to reduce its suspension list and ensure its suspension rate for Black clients matches their representation in shelters.
What Father Joe’s says: The storied San Diego nonprofit argues it’s willing to make adjustments but said its goal is to ensure the safety of all shelter residents – and that its suspension list is longer than other providers’ in part because of its array of services. Father Joe’s is also pushing back at some Housing Commission directives, including an order to purge its suspension list of clients and the agency’s clampdown on disparities in its list.
ICYMI: Halverstadt last week broke the news that the Housing Commission is closely monitoring four Father Joe’s city contracts after earlier this year ordering the nonprofit to address issues including client grievances and maintenance shortcomings – or risk losing those contracts. Father Joe’s and the Housing Commission have said they are working together to address the issues.
A Tour of the Safe Sleeping Site
There are now about 140 people sleeping at the city’s Golden Hill safe campsite and about 80 people vying for a spot, according to the nonprofit running the project.
Operator Dreams for Change on Tuesday invited the media to tour the city’s first safe sleeping site at the edge of Balboa Park but didn’t allow photos or video footage.
As of Tuesday morning, Dreams for Change CEO Teresa Smith said 10 to 12 campsites remained open. The nonprofit expects to eventually fill up to 138 tents.
Feeling the heat: Advocates have raised concerns about how summer heat could impact homeless people at the site. Smith showed off a shaded breezeway with cots and chairs on the perimeter of the site that’s meant to serve as a refuge from the heat. There are also shaded areas to charge phones, wash items and have meetings.
Reminder: Folks need to have a referral from an outreach worker or to call 2-1-1 to connect with one to get a spot in the lot. Campsite resident Tina Smith, 55, told reporters she showed up hoping to get into the site and could not. But she got in, with the help of the police department’s homeless outreach team, a few days later.
Behind San Diego County’s Suspension Rates
The suspension rate in San Diego County schools has fallen by more than 40 percent since the 2011-2012 school year. Not only that, schools are suspending students in every demographic less than they were a decade ago.
Good news? Not exactly. The across-the-board decrease hasn’t eliminated long-standing disparities in the rates at which schools suspend kids. Education reporter Jakob McWhinney explains what two types of suspension metrics you need to know to understand what’s happening. Read that here.
ICYMI: For the first time in at least a decade, the suspension rate of Indigenous students in the 2021-2022 school year was higher than that of Black students. This metric is in need of an asterisk, though, McWhinney recently found that a single district was suspending Indigenous kids at such a high rate that it had inflated the countywide rate.
In Other News
- Inewsource checked in on City Councilman Stephen Whitburn’s plan to reform city towing policies and learned he put the effort on pause. Our Lisa Halverstadt previously dug into how the city’s current practices impact homeless people living in vehicles and Whitburn’s initial proposal.
- Kaiser Permanente’s new San Marcos hospital is set to open Wednesday. (Union-Tribune) Also, KPBS reports that nurses are worried about staffing at Kaiser’s other two hospitals. Related: Our Tigist Layne has reported how Kaiser’s new hospital could impact another North County hospital. Read her story here.
- La Jolla is making its case for independence from the city of San Diego. The Union-Tribune has more on their proposal.
- Amid a crisis in the supply and cost of homes, San Diego apartments have become motels, NBC 7 reports.
The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Jakob McWhinney. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.