The article earlier this week also reminded me of a presentation that a friend of mine gave at the American Planning Association 2012 National Planning Conference in LA which focused on the efforts of the San Diego civic and civil society to end homelessness in the city center. The efforts of the Campaign to End Homelessness in America’s Finest City involved work from the San Diego City Redevelopment Agency and many other community organizations united around the goal of housing all of the chronic homeless in San Diego’s city center.
At last update, in 2012, this campaign has housed more than 100 of the 850 or so chronic homeless. Though most people think of the homeless as being drug addicts and psychologically unwell people, this campaign has found a wide variety of people from various situations and experiences undergoing chronic homelessness. The main message that I get from this campaign is that though there are often significant mental, physical, psychological and emotional problems that are to be found among the homeless, this doesn’t mean they aren’t deserving of a place where they can have a home, a base, to transition back to an active, contributive life.
I’ve been searching for further updates since it’s already well into 2013 and have been worried that with the halt of the Centre City Development Company by the “restructuring” of California’s redevelopment agency funding so would be halted the efforts of this campaign. I was able to find a brief from the San Diego Downtown News stating that the Campaign had just been given an award for reaching the milestone of housing 2.5% of San Diego’s chronic homeless in transitional housing.
Further, the national mother organization which the Campaign to End Homelessness in San Diego is allied to — 100,000 homes — reached a half-way milestone for its own goal of housing the chronic homeless in 100,000 homes across the country. Efforts such as this — focusing on a clear, concrete goal on a national level with the effort, planning, and execution by local partners — this sounds like the American ingenuity that is celebrated in lore.