November 14, 2015
In November 2014, the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) announced the Homelessness Action Plan, a five-point strategy aimed at helping an estimated 1,500 homeless San Diego residents over a period of three years using the Housing First model. The five points as listed on the SDHC website are:
The Housing First approach allows for homeless individuals and families to bypass transitional housing and the completion of rehabilitative services needed to “demonstrate housing readiness”. Some may wonder, how could permanent housing be the end all solution for those experiencing chronic homelessness (homeless a year or more with a disabling condition or addiction)? It is important to understand that “housing first” is not synonymous with “housing only”. Homeless service providers that implement the Housing First model place clients in permanent housing to first solve their ulitmate need—housing. Providers then offer support services and case management to help their clients gain independence.
The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) defines the Housing First model as: “an approach that offers permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and then provides the supportive services and connections to the community-based supports people need to keep their housing and avoid returning to homelessness.”
Housing First is not only a successful model for helping to reduce the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness, but it is also a more cost effective solution. Just check out some of the numbers below:
Utah was the first state to implement a Housing First policy.
New York City, New York
Charlotte, North Carolina
Homeless service provider, Moore Place, provided permanent supportive housing to 85 chronically homeless adults in their first year of implementing the Housing First model.
San Diego, California
As of November 2015, the SDHC is well underway with the renovation of the historic Hotel Churchill. The revitalized housing structure will be renamed The Churchill and include 56 units for veterans and 16 units for foster youth transitioning out of the foster care system. The targeted completion is June 2016.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro also paid a visit to the renovation site in October and commended San Diego on their efforts and implementation of the Housing First approach to help end chronic homelessness.
For more information on the SDHC click here to view their latest digital progress report or visit the link below.