The City of San Diego is in the midst of a terrible homelessness crisis. To date, every proposal brought forward, from industrial tents to campgrounds have been largely ineffective. It is abundantly clear that the most effective way to address homelessness is to have an ample supply of permanent supportive housing available for families and individuals that are close to or actually experiencing homelessness. While the lack of secure funding for services is concerning, it is the lack of funding for housing that is especially glaring. I am requesting a City Charter amendment mandating that growth in Transient Occupancy Tax revenues be dedicated for the next 20 years to fund homelessness services, shelters, and permanent supportive housing solutions be placed on the Rules Committee agenda that will discuss 2018 ballot measures.
The City has an obligation to ensure certain levels of public safety and health by not only preventing the current crisis from growing, but also by taking meaningful steps to proactively curb the number of individuals and families living on the streets. According to the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless annual Point-In-Time Count, the population of homeless individuals has grown throughout the City, from 5,093 in 2016 to 5,619 in 2017, as well as a 34% increase in chronically homeless in the City since 2016. Growth of this magnitude heightens the potential for unsanitary conditions and the spread of infectious diseases. The Hepatitis A crisis the City is currently responding to likely could have been averted if the City had an effective permanent supportive housing program that quickly matched homeless individuals and families with services and housing in place. Critical services that can help prevent individuals from experiencing homelessness include mental health treatment, health care, drug and alcohol treatment, education and job training.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. Your timely response is greatly appreciated.