SAN DIEGO — San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair, Nathan Fletcher announced two new measures in the fight against homelessness in San Diego.
Fletcher announced that if approved, a new analytics program in the County would collect data from county government agencies, analyze the data and then identify if someone is on the verge of becoming homeless. Fletcher said then, the County would step in to help and try to be proactive.
Fletcher announced the analytics program during a press conference Monday. He said it is a proactive measure to try and stop someone from losing their home and aims to help keep them in their homes.
“We focus a lot of our efforts on the people who are on the streets now and that’s important, but we have to do the prevention,” said Fletcher. “Stopping more people from becoming homeless and if we do both, and both effectively, I think we can see progress.”
He said the board will vote Tuesday whether or not to approve using data analytics to try and prevent people from becoming homeless.
“You can really look at some of the key indicators where a family is struggling and that they may be housing insecure,” Fletcher said. “And the goal is to identify early ‘hey we think these folks might be at risk’ and then proactively reach out to them.”
Fletcher said the County would use data it already has from people who have been in contact with Health and Human Services, law enforcement, Child Welfare or Psych hospitals.
“These data points may not be predictive on their own, one by themselves might not tell you the story,” Fletcher said. “But when you assemble multiple things together, it can point you in an area where we need to intervene.”
A similar program is already in use in Los Angeles County. According to the board’s agenda, “This approach builds on successful implementation of a similar research-backed predictive model implemented in Los Angeles County, which has found a way to predict who is at the highest risk of homelessness, often before an individual recognizes their own vulnerability.”
Funding and more developments into the program have not yet been announced since the item is up for a vote Tuesday.
Fletcher also announced Monday that County employees can start using an app, which gives them the capability to connect people who are homeless with the outreach team who can provide services. Fletcher said it is common that librarians and park rangers come into contact with people that are homeless, and this will help them connect with resources.
Barbara Jimenez, the Department of Homeless Solutions Community Operations Officer, said, “it will improve our ability to really connect those identified with social services staff to track and monitor engagement and better capture information about any encampments.”
Michael McConnell, who has been advocating for homeless in the region for 13 years, said he is looking forward to the possibility of this data program and believes it can make an impact. However, he said he is concerned there isn’t enough resources available in San Diego to back up the use of the app.