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County supervisors to consider creating department focused on preventing homelessness

College Area Homeless.png
Posted at 11:00 AM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 14:16:35-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — County Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher is asking the board to approve a plan that will create a county department focusing on helping those who are homeless and how to prevent homelessness.

Last year alone, the county spent hundreds of millions of dollars supporting more than 75 programs that serve people who are homeless.

Even though there are a number of homeless programs available, under Fletcher’s plan, having one department under the county's Health and Human Services dedicated to this issue may help optimize outreach.

Bob McElroy, President of the Alpha Project, says because of this pandemic more people are looking for help.

"We are seeing nontraditional people becoming homeless that aren’t drug-addicted, they aren’t mentally ill. They’ve been without jobs for a year. No income. They’ve run out of room couch surfing, and they need resources from us," said McElroy.

In Fletcher’s letter to the board, he highlights some goals he’d like this department to tackle including finding affordable and appropriate housing for those who need it. He wants the department to create sustainable programs with long-term funding and he’s pushing to maximize social service interactions to prevent homelessness.

McElroy says the collaborative efforts in housing the homeless at the convention center show this can be done.

"We saw the blessing in that. We had 1,300 people find housing a lot of people went home to family and friends in other states where they came from," said McElroy.

But, while McElroy believes this proposal is promising, he says this is just part of the solution.

"We can come up with a lot of policies and come up with plans. But if we don’t implement those plans we will stay where we are at," McElroy said.