City falling short on goal to bridge homeless into permanent housing

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - As the City of San Diego seeks more funding for three temporary bridge shelters, data reveals they have fallen far short of their goal to transition people into permanent housing.

When the tents opened, the office of Mayor Kevin Faulconer set a goal of bridging 65 percent into permanent housing.

A report by the San Diego Housing Commission shows from December 2017 to March 2018, 946 people have exited the three tents.

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Out of that, only 94 people have been placed into permanent housing. That’s about a 10 percent transition rate.

An additional 36 people are now in “longer-term housing” situations, which brings the rate up to about 14 percent, still well short of the 65 percent goal.

“We just spent a lot of money to perpetuate homelessness,” said Michael McConnell, a homeless advocate who has been critical of the mayor’s temporary tent plan.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office defended the program in a statement, saying they expect the rate to rise:

“The Bridge Shelter model is something that had never been done in the City of San Diego before. Some of the outcome assumptions made were based off of data that, after close analysis and implementation, was not entirely accurate, which is typical within the homeless population.

The number of individuals who are, per VI SPDAT*, ready to quickly transition to permanent housing, was much lower than anticipated. It was also anticipated that it would be 120 days before we saw much movement from the Bridge Shelters to permanent housing, keeping in mind that the last of the three Bridge Shelters opened January 4 and most weren’t fully occupied until late January or early February. So in that regard, the early numbers have been very promising.

Additionally, although there have been 61 exits to permanent housing there have been 39 exits to longer term housing. That’s 100 people off the streets in the first three months of operation.

That said, we are currently undergoing a third-party analysis that will help us make adjustments to the operations and management of the Bridge Shelters to ultimately assist even more people in moving on to long-term housing solutions.”

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