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Supervisors Push For Changes To Homeless Funding Formulas

David Estrella, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for San Diego County, and Pat Leslie, Director of Social Work at Point Loma Nazarene University, talk to KPBS about the push for more funding for homeless programs in San Diego County.


David Estrella, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, San Diego County

Pat Leslie, Director of Social Work Point Loma Nazarene University, Facilitator Regional Continuum of Care


The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to push for changes to formulas used by the federal government to determine funding levels for local homeless programs around the country.

Supervisors Greg Cox and Ron Roberts said current methods are obsolete and penalize areas like San Diego County. Voice of San Diego originally reported the county receives less money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development than they need.

The formulas were originally crafted to service high-density populations on the nation's East Coast, but as West Coast urban and homeless population densities increased, the formulas were not amended to adequately address San Diego County's growing homeless population, according to the supervisors.

Cox said San Diego County deserved a more equitable distribution of HUD money, which would allow for additional traditional housing and shelters, rental assistance and other programs to support the homeless.

Cox and Roberts said the county's around 10,000 transients ranked behind homeless populations in only New York City and Los Angeles.

"Our region has the third-highest homeless population in the country. It ranks 18th when it comes to funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development," Cox said. "This is unfair to the people of San Diego County and our action today is the first step to change that outdated federal funding formula."

The board directed the county's chief administrative officer to lobby for changes to the formulas. San Diego Mayor Bob Filner recently announced he would lobby for a revised funding formula, as well, according to the supervisors.

"Today's action will help us to achieve a more equitable source of funding -- at least we hope that it will -- for the San Diego homeless services, who'll work with federal officials to bring parity to how the Department of Housing and Urban Development's ... formulas reflect a need in our community compared to other regions," Roberts said.

The supervisors also tentatively voted to require 4-H and Future Farmers of America members to submit detailed project plans to their organization to keep more roosters on their property than county ordinance allowed. 4H plans would also be submitted to the county 4H advisor for approval.

The county limits the number of roosters, on a sliding scale according to property size, to discourage cockfighting. But county staff said the 4-H and FFA exception was abused in three cases last year.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob said tightening the ordinance would "further crack down on cockfighting and to ensure that folks in our region are engaged in legitimate poultry projects."

"I want to make sure that no one is claiming ties to 4H or FFA as a cover for illegal activity," Jacob said.

Supervisor Bill Horn, who cast the dissenting vote, said cockfighting was already illegal and he would like to see the law enforced without increased regulation.

A final vote is scheduled next month.

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