Countywide Homeless Outreach is Underway Through Partnership with PATH
The County of San Diego in 2021 stepped up its commitment to tackling homelessness, and since July teams from People Assisting The Homeless (PATH) have spread out across the county to help connect unsheltered individuals with services. On Thursday, Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the San Diego Board of Supervisors, shadowed PATH as they conducted outreach in Pacific Beach.
“The crisis of the unsheltered does not just exist in downtown San Diego, it is a regional issue. “Across San Diego County there are neighborhoods and businesses that experience the inhumanity of homeless daily, and we are ramping up our efforts countywide by providing outreach support along with mental health and substance use treatment,” said Chair Fletcher. “Outreach specialists are the foot soldiers. I had the opportunity to witness the compassion, empathy, and unique skills that are required to build a genuine connection and get someone on the street the help they need. It is very important work.”
Under the County’s arrangement with PATH, outreach teams are strategically placed in different geographic regions of the county. Currently, the strategy calls for eight in East County, four in North County, 3 in South County, and 2 in Central/North Central County (overlaps with workers contracted by the City of San Diego). To date, 13 of the 20 outreach specialists and program managers have been onboarded and are in the field.
Hanan Scrapper, PATH San Diego’s regional director shared, “PATH’s approach to outreach is neighborhood-based, person-centered and trauma-informed. We work closely with all providers in the region to ensure that we are all aligned with best practices. This model is having positive impacts in the City of San Diego and we’re grateful for the opportunity to employ outreach specialists across the County of San Diego. By expanding supportive services, building more housing, and addressing economic inequity, we can end homelessness”.
In addition to the new contract with PATH, other ways Chair Fletcher and the County of San Diego have been helping address the homeless crisis include;
Establishing an Office of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities,
Launching countywide Mobile Crisis Response Teams,
Partnering with the City of San Diego to open a Harm Reduction Shelter with Community Harm Reduction Teams,
Opening two more Crisis Stabilization Units, and
Directing $85 million of Federal American Rescue Plan Act Funds toward its initiatives to address homelessness.
The PATH outreach teams align with Chair Nathan Fletcher’s Framework for the Future of San Diego County. The Framework prioritizes communities and populations in San Diego that have been historically left behind. Through this Framework, Chair Fletcher is fighting for racial justice, health equity, economic opportunity, environmental protection, government transparency, and fundamental changes to county operations.