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UC San Diego to open large-scale research hub on homelessness

Posted at 1:18 PM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-02 16:18:44-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - UC San Diego will open a data hub focused exclusively on homelessness, intended to serve as a non-partisan hub for research, education, policy and action on homelessness, it was announced Thursday.

The Homelessness Hub at UC San Diego will be under the umbrella of the university's Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Philanthropist couples Phyllis and Dan Epstein and Hanna and Mark Gleiberman donated $1 million each to the university to establish the hub.

"Longtime university supporters and community philanthropists Phyllis, Dan, Hanna and Mark share a common conviction that society's biggest challenges require focused efforts and resources to solve," UCSD Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla said in a statement. "The Homelessness Hub at UC San Diego has the potential to make a significant impact in understanding and addressing the factors that lead to homelessness."

Last year, the Regional Task Force on Homelessness estimated that the number of first-time homeless people in the county grew from 2,326 in 2019 to 4,152 in 2020, a 79% increase.

"Homelessness has remained a long-term problem in San Diego and we should turn to the best researchers we have to identify thoughtful solutions," Dan Epstein said. "The University of California will play a constructive role in that regard.

"This is about getting people not only a place to live, but everything that goes along with it," he said. "UC San Diego can identify what people need and how best to offer services, and then the real work begins."

The Homelessness Hub is intended to tackle the issue by "bringing together and drawing upon the wisdom of researchers, service providers, civic leaders and unhoused San Diegans to conduct critical research, synthesize and communicate findings, as well as inform local policy and action to address homelessness," according to a statement from the university.

"Imagine, for example, if we could optimize San Diego's winter shelter network," said Mirle Rabinowitz Bussell, UCSD professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. "Where should we locate shelters? What services should be offered? For how long? For how many people? How can we link safe overnight parking to help prevent homelessness in the first place?

"Now, through the Homelessness Hub at UC San Diego, we have the opportunity to collaborate with nonprofit leaders and elected officials to make decisions that move us toward the goal of eliminating homelessness," Bussell said.