Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The city will get $6.17 million from President Barack Obama's recently approved economic stimulus plan to help those in San Diego at risk of becoming homeless, Mayor Jerry Sanders announced today.
The funds are intended to help those facing economic problems by providing immediate housing assistance, such as short-term rental help, relocation money and to pay for security and utility deposits.
"In these extremely difficult economic times, a growing number of low- income families, those who were struggling to make ends meet even before the downturn, are faced with the very real prospect of becoming homeless," Sanders said.
"These new funds aim to help pull people back from the brink and they are going to be very helpful in preventing additional homelessness in our city," he said.
The city is also slated to get $9.55 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to prevent and address homelessness in San Diego.
The money can be used to provide permanent and transitional housing to the homeless and to fund services such as job training, health care, mental health counseling and child care.
The county is poised to get $1.9 million in federal stimulus money to help families on the brink of homelessness. It will also get about $5.5 million in HUD grants to fight homelessness.
Sanders was joined at a morning news conference by Phillip Mangano, who heads up the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, and Brian Maienschein, with United Way of San Diego.
Mangano said the federal funding will help San Diego implement its 10- year plan to end chronic homelessness in the city.
It is the most federal funding the region has ever received for homelessness, Mangano said.
"Today's announcement of more funding certainly reminds us that if good intentions, well-meaning programs and humanitarian gestures could end homelessness in a place as hospitable as San Diego, it would have been history decades ago," Mangano said.
"The fact is they don't," he continued. "And that's why a strategic 10-year plan -- a plan that is infused with political will and support and with increased resources -- those are the resources to get the job done."
Maienschein, a former San Diego city councilman, said the money will provide much needed assistance to the less-fortunate and the region's estimated 10,000 homeless people.
"This money will go a long way toward providing the housing and toward providing the services for those who need it the most," he said.
Sanders said the city will work with the United Way and a local commission on homelessness to determine where the federal money is allocated.