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Vice Chair Nora Vargas and Chair Nathan Fletcher are joined by regional elected leaders, homeless service providers and community partners at a press conference Monday, September 27, 2022 to support the board policy Declaring Homelessness a Public Health Crisis.



The San Diego County Board of Supervisors formally declared homelessness a public health crisis in San Diego County. The policy was brought forth by Vice Chair Nora Vargas and Chair Nathan Fletcher and was approved unanimously today.

Declaring homelessness, a public health crisis will advance the priority of solving homelessness in the region and will allow our local agencies to collaborate and implement innovative strategies.

“A public health approach to homelessness will help align efforts, share resources, and more purposefully help address the root causes of housing instability and health at a large-scale with a humane response,” said Vice Chair Nora Vargas, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “Today, our County takes a significant step, by serving as a regional convener, bringing cities, business organizations and service providers, together in a collaborative effort to develop innovative, sustainable, long-term solutions to prevent and end homelessness.”

Chair Fletcher has gotten the County more involved in the issue of homeless than ever before by working with regional partners to tackled the homelessness crisis, including building a new 150-person shelter on county land and make funding available to help cities build new shelters.   

“Homelessness is a regional issue, and it is going to take all of us coming together; and using every tool in our toolbox to get folks off the street, and onto a better path,” said Chair Fletcher. “Today we reaffirmed our County’s commitment to work with the 18 incorporated cities, State and non-profits to be part of the solution because no one community, individual or entity can solve this crisis alone.”

The County has already been collaborating with City of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria on groundbreaking projects that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals experiencing homelessness.

“There was a time not long ago that the City and County were missing in action on homelessness,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “I applaud Chair Fletcher and Vice Chair Vargas for the work they’re undertaking to ensure the County is prioritizing the public health crisis unfolding for thousands of people living on our streets. As Mayor of San Diego, I am committed to using every tool at my disposal and collaborating with all regional, state and federal partners to address this crisis.”

The declaration of a public health crisis is a key step to drive further collaboration between our local jurisdictions, community organizations, health care professionals, and others to develop resources and a comprehensive approach. Under the leadership of the Board of Supervisors and the County’s Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities, the County has demonstrated its dedication to addressing homelessness with an emphasis on the social determinants of health and with the goal of improving the health of people experiencing homelessness.