A key to help solving San Diego's persistent homeless crisis could rest in the pockets of homeowners.
The San Diego Housing Federation is pushing for a November ballot measure that would add charges to property tax bills to pay for three separate, permanent shelters - they would house 7,500 homeless, at risk working families, and disabled seniors and veterans.
"It's cheaper to house people than to leave them on the streets. One emergency room visit is thousands upon thousands of dollars," said Stephen Russell, the federation's executive director.
Russell says the typical property tax bill would rise about $70. The bond would assess $20 for each $100,000 in assessed value.
It would need a two-thirds vote.
San Diegans in November may also consider a measure that raises the hotel tax to fund homeless services, among other expenditures.
Homeowners who declined to give their name Monday with seemed mixed on the proposal. One man said he already pays a lot in property tax, while another said he didn't mind the charge, but was concerned over how the money was spent.
There are about 9,600 homeless people in the county, including 5,600 in the city of San Diego.
The Federation plans to present the concept to a city committee next month.