City leaders announce homeless outreach program

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A group of civic leaders will gather Monday to announce a proposed outreach program intended to help people experiencing homelessness with a rapid response team.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, City Council President Georgette Gomez, City Councilmembers Chris Ward and Monica Montgomery Steppe and San Diego Housing Commission President and CEO Richard Gentry will meet at Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park in City Heights to discuss the program, which will be presented to the City Council on Tuesday.

The Coordinated Street Outreach Program marks a new approach to conducting homelessness outreach in the City of San Diego and addresses gaps in the existing system, while leveraging and enhancing outreach resources citywide.

It builds on a 2018 pilot effort started in the Mid-City area by Gomez and Ward in partnership with the nonprofit service provider People Assisting the Homeless. The new program will incorporate a neighborhood-specific approach with proactive contacts with residents, business owners and civic organizations that is modeled after the pilot initiative.

The Coordinated Street Outreach Program will consist of two main service elements: a Rapid Response Team and a Mobile Homelessness Response Team.

The Rapid Response Team is intended to focus on areas with known concentrations of individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness and provide immediate intervention and problem-solving resources while working to improve the person’s sense of safety and helping to meet their basic needs.

The Mobile Homelessness Response Team will provide street-based case management and prioritize interactions with individuals who are among the city’s most vulnerable. The plan is for this team to work to identify individuals who may already be connected to a housing resource and are on a localized list developed in collaboration with the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. This team’s efforts are intended to help individuals address barriers to getting housing — such as obtaining identification, accessing primary care and seeking employment resources.

PATH would operate the proposed program through a contract with the San Diego Housing Commission on behalf of the city.

The program will attempt to support the city’s community action plan on homelessness and work toward achieving the goal of reducing unsheltered homelessness in San Diego by 50% over the next three years.

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