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Newsom, Gloria announce outreach program for homeless near highways

Posted at 4:23 PM, Oct 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-19 08:58:26-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Caltrans officials announced a collaborative outreach program Monday intended to support residents living in dangerous conditions adjacent to state highways.

"I don't think homelessness can be solved, I know it can be solved," Newsom said. "The state has provided unprecedented financial resources and opportunities to local governments to address street homelessness, but it takes local leaders like Mayor Gloria to turn this into action.

"Our vision on homelessness must be realized at the local level, and I hope this partnership becomes a template for other cities and counties around California to address encampments along our streets and highways," Newsom said.

San Diego's Homelessness Strategies and Solutions Department will contract directly with City Net -- a nonprofit homelessness-services organization started in Long Beach in 2005 that has programs in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and Santa Barbara counties -- to provide focused street outreach.

"We know there has been a proliferation of homeless encampments along our state highways, which is a particularly dangerous place for them to be," Gloria said. "Ensuring we are able to reach them and offer services is critical.

"This first-of-its-kind collaboration with Caltrans and a new partner, City Net, harnesses the opportunities provided by Governor Newsom's California Comeback Plan, creating yet another way for us to implement our compassionate approach to keeping people safe and ending homelessness one person at a time," Gloria said.

The city's partnership with Caltrans and its contract with City Net are the first agreement in the state to provide dedicated outreach at encampments in the Caltrans right-of-way since Newsom announced $22 billion in investments to local governments intended to address homelessness and the lack of affordable housing as part of his California Comeback Plan.

"This partnership with the city of San Diego allows us to continue addressing encampments on the highway and ensure individuals sheltering in unsafe conditions are provided the necessary services and support to move them into stable living situations," said Caltrans District 11 Director Gustavo Dallarda.

Under its contract with the Homelessness Strategies and Solutions Department, City Net is slated to deploy three outreach teams to work with the San Diego Housing Commission and its network of providers on shelter placements and wraparound supportive services, including transportation, case management and emergency mental-health support. The contract spans from October 2021 through June 2022.