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SUPERVISOR FLETCHER BUILDS SUPPORT IN FIGHT TO END VETERAN HOMELESSNESS

02/07/23

 

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher is directing his attention toward ending veteran homelessness in San Diego County. Today, Supervisor Fletcher, along with Chairwoman Nora Vargas and the Board of Supervisors supported the measure to dedicate county government resources to join with regional partners to get every veteran off the street and onto a positive life path. The measure passed 5 to 0 and was co-docketed with Charwoman Nora Vargas. 

On January 20, Supervisor Fletcher, together with a coalition of veterans and homeless advocates, announced he was going to get the County of San Diego more involved in the fight to end veteran homelessness, and today’s vote was the start.

“In recent years we have started to see the Veteran homelessness number decline in San Diego, and now is the time we must accelerate the efforts regionally to functionally end veteran homelessness,” said Supervisor Fletcher, a U.S. Marine Corps combat Veteran. “There are existing state and federal resources that must be matched with local leadership to get our veterans off the streets and into permanent housing. We are developing a specific and accountable plan to accomplish this important goal. The plan we present in April will be an important step on this new path to end veteran homelessness. I am ready to put in the work.”

“I am proud to join my colleague Supervisor Fletcher the County’s efforts to expand our support for our veteran community,” said Nora Vargas, Chairwoman, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “As a military town that currently has 8% of the unsheltered community identified as veterans, we need to create a comprehensive plan to determine housing needs and resources needed to aid this vulnerable population. We have a responsibility to take care of those who served our country, and we must invest in programs that will help our veterans thrive when they integrate into civilian life.” 

The approval of the policy put several actions in motion, including the convening of community organizations and stakeholders, government representatives from local, state, and federal levels, and individuals with lived experience to come up with a plan. 

It is expected the plan will be completed by the end of April, including metrics to measure results. Other actions will involve working with partners to identify and secure non-County resources; and advocating for regulatory, budgetary, and legislative efforts to help. Some possible components of the plan could also include: 

  1. Work on removing barriers to housing for veterans such as adequate housing vouchers and support to quickly match veterans with housing options; and
  2. A landlord campaign that will result in more placements of veterans with VASH (Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing) Vouchers.

According to last year’s Point in Time Count, our region has nearly 700 homeless veterans and about half of those were staying in temporary shelters. The Biden Administration and Veterans Administration Secretary Denis McDonough have made a series of resources available with the goal of helping local jurisdictions end veteran homelessness. Supervisor Fletcher’s efforts will seek to leverage these resources plus local commitments to get veterans off the street. 

Supervisor Fletcher previously said he has already spoken with members of the San Diego delegation to help him bring more resources to San Diego County, including Congressman Mike Levin and Assemblymember Chris Ward. 

Some of the veteran organizations that have come together to be part of the coalition include the San Diego County Office of Military and Veteran Affairs, San Diego Veterans Coalition, San Diego Veterans For Peace, Zero8hundred, and Vets' Community Connections. 

Ways in which the County of San Diego and Supervisor Fletcher are helping veterans include:

  • Since 2009, the County Housing Authority has helped 1,259 veterans secure stable housing through the VASH program. 
  • Through a partnership between the Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities (HSEC) and the Sheriff’s Department, the Community Care Coordination for Veterans (C3V) program provides care coordination and housing navigation for justice-involved veterans. 
  • Benefit access and assistance to residents from the Office of Military & Veterans Affairs in addition to other programs throughout the enterprise. 

To read the entire policy passed by Supervisor Fletcher and the Board of Supervisors, click here