North County cities to hone regional efforts to address homelessness

REGION — The San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless board of directors met last week and adopted a community plan framework to better coordinate efforts to end homelessness.

Greg Anglea, board ad hoc committee chair and North County Alliance for Regional Solutions board president, said the framework will provide a common database to coordinate regional efforts. This will help North County cities work together more effectively to solve the problem of homelessness.

Anglea described the framework as a crisis response system. He said it will help reduce homelessness in a dramatic way.

“The plan will be strongly data‐informed and guided by best practices and evidence about what works,” Anglea said. “Analysis of San Diego’s local data will provide a roadmap to help the community achieve significant reductions in homelessness.”

Key areas the long-range plan addresses are unified leadership, systems access, emergency response, system exits and system infrastructure. They bring together aligned funding, coordinated entry, transitional and interim housing, housing intervention and evaluation and training.

Implementation will utilize measurable objectives and action steps to achieve the greatest reduction in homelessness with available resources.

“This work will be difficult but it is critical that we rise to meet this challenge both for the well‐being of those experiencing homelessness and of our community as a whole,” Anglea said.

Next steps are to share the framework with North County mayors and city staff on a city by city basis.

“We need all parts of the community to work together on designing and implementing strategies to help neighbors experiencing homelessness in a coordinated fashion,” Anglea said.

Currently nine North County cities and numerous nonprofits and church groups work together through the North County Alliance for Regional Solutions. However efforts of Del Mar, Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, Poway, San Marcos, Solana Beach, Vista and nonprofit entities are not coordinated.

“The activities that are currently happening are pretty significant,” Anglea said. “Each city is doing its own different set of activities supporting emergency shelters, building permanent affordable housing, building supportive housing and funding different programs to help people from falling into homelessness.”

The goal is to coordinate North County efforts and create a stronger safety net for the growing problem of homelessness. Anglea said the framework provides how-to steps to take the hundreds of current programs and initiatives and coordinate them in one cohesive response system.

“On any given night an estimated 9,000 people in the San Diego region are living outdoors, in vehicles or in emergency shelters,” Anglea said. “While the community has invested in programs and projects that are innovative and effective, homelessness remains a persistent  and growing problem.”

Implementation of the 12-month framework will be pursued with the guidance of Focus Strategies, Inc., through June 2018.

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