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County Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities being introduced by Chair Fletcher on Tuesday, April 6 Board Meeting

04/05/21

San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher wants the  County to better leverage its expertise and resources to support the regional response to the homelessness crisis. On Tuesday, April 6, he is presenting a policy to establish a new Department of Homeless Solution and Equitable Communities. Chair Fletcher first introduced the concept during his State of the County Address in February.   

The County has been a regional partner in supporting the unsheltered, the actions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic is the most recent example. In Fiscal Year 2019-2020 the County supported more than 75 programs and spent hundreds of millions serving people that are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.   

Services provided by the county to people experiencing homelessness have been scattered across several agencies; Chair Fletcher’s policy seeks to streamline the operations of existing services and provide more. 

“Centralizing our work involving people experiencing homelessness in one department will make us more effective at putting the unsheltered on a path to safe, secure housing and make us a better regional partner.” said Chair Fletcher. “Taking this step signifies a renewed commitment to addressing homelessness, not just in the unincorporated areas, but across the region.”   

The policy if passed on Tuesday will also abandon efforts that criminalize homelessness and create greater urgency to place housing and facilities that will be used to assist individuals experiencing homelessness. Additionally, the policy will establish a new set of guiding principles that should be used for any programs or initiatives that the county undertakes. These principles include: 

  • Prioritize equity in all aspects of homelessness prevention and response
  • Ensure evidence-based, data-driven solutions 
  • Commit to a Housing First approach
  • Offer support, not criminalize homelessness
  • Trauma-informed and person-centered care
  • Prevention through strategic intervention

Creating a department of homeless solutions and equitable communities aligns with the Framework for the Future of San Diego County Chair Fletcher introduced at the start of 2021. 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.