San Diego City Council hosts special meeting on homelessness

SAN DIEGO – Thousands of men, women and children are living on San Diego streets and today city leaders gathered with community groups to figure out how to help them get back on their feet.

Programs have helped people find housing but leaders say there is still more work to be done.

Homelessness is heavily visible around San Diego — men, women, even children from various parts of the country settling on area beaches, in our alleys, canyons and also on the doorways of our businesses.

“Homelessness looks different in each of our neighborhoods but at the end of the day, it’s clear that we have many people living unsheltered in our city and we need to do more to address this issue,” said Myrtle Cole, San Diego City Councilmember.

During the “State of the City” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said his focus would be on helping the homeless.  A concern he shared again during a special city council meeting on Monday

“This is an unprecedented problem that demands an unprecedented level of cooperation and coming together,” said Faulconer.

Daniel Beeman has lived in San Diego for twenty five years, mostly on the street.  He says the city needs more affordable housing.

“Its totally struggling and I was working two jobs and I was going to community college, too, at the same time, but I just couldn’t afford the rent. Now, the rent is much higher,” said Beenman.

The San Diego State University Institute for Public Health has served more than 22,000 homeless people over the course of a year.  More than 18,000 came from the county.

“A year ago, the mayor and I were working on something quite different. This is far more important than anything that we were doing last year in conjunction with a football team, far more important,” said Ron Roberts, San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

Community leaders say the city needs more sources for prevention and more affordable housing.  It’s a task San Diego’s new senior advisor for housing solution will be tackling in the months ahead.

“We need clear sustainable, swift, solution to reduce the number of people living and sleeping on our streets,” said Stacie Spector, Senior Advisor for Housing Solutions.

During today’s special city council meeting, Mayor Faulconer announced that he plans to make public,  a proposal, creating the city’s first dedicated revenue system for homelessness.

The plan will be released in the coming weeks.

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