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Chronically Homeless Begin Moving Into Homes

Audio

Aired 3/25/11

Two homeless people have moved into apartments under a special program called "Project 25." The pilot project hopes to get people off the streets and save money in emergency services.

— Number 18 got keys to his new place Monday.

The 49-year-old man, identified as 18 to protect his identity, is the second homeless person in San Diego to be placed in housing under a special program called "Project 25."

“And 18 is housed and (we) got to see that and see him walk in his place today,” said Marc Stevenson, Project 25 Director.

The goal is to get the most costly and most vulnerable homeless people off the street and into housing. The $3 million program is a partnership between many public and private agencies, including the United Way and the county's Health and Human Services Agency.

So far, nine people have been approved for Project 25; two are in apartments.

The nine people approved had several trips to hospital emergency rooms and even spent time in county jail. This handful of people cost the emergency-services system $1.5 million last year, Stevenson said.

Number 18 had been using homeless services since 2007. Last year, he alone cost the system $260,000 in emergency services, including trips to the ER.

In a Project 25 team meeting this week, workers allowed a reporter to listen in as they discussed their outreach efforts to homeless men and women. Many of the people on the street were reluctant to participate in the program, several had alcohol problems, and some did not want to leave their partners behind.

Makeshift homeless shelters line Commercial St. in downtown San Diego.
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Above: Makeshift homeless shelters line Commercial St. in downtown San Diego.

The team discovered at least three people on their list of 90 had died recently.

“Alright number 4, we have another one deceased, and number 5 deceased,” Stevenson told the group in Tuesday's meeting.

Outreach workers discovered one man had died during a return visit to the area where he once had lived. The coroner removed his body.

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