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San Diegan Appointed To California’s Homeless Housing Initiative

Homeless people crowd a parkway with tents and makeshift housing in San Diego, July 6, 2016.
Associated Press
Homeless people crowd a parkway with tents and makeshift housing in San Diego, July 6, 2016.
San Diegan Appointed To California’s Homeless Housing Initiative
San Diegan Appointed To California’s Homeless Housing Initiative GUEST: Alfredo Aguirre, director, San Diego County Behavioral Health Services

A new state program aimed at providing housing for homeless individuals with serious mental illness is slowly coming together.

The "No Place Like Home" program was approved by Gov. Jerry Brown last year. He recently appointed Alfredo Aguirre, director of San Diego County's Behavioral Health Services, to the program’s advisory committee.

The program allows the state to use $2 billion in bonds from Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act passed by voters in 2004 to impose a 1 percent tax on personal income above $1 million, to pay for the construction or rehabilitation of permanent supportive housing for mentally ill homeless people.

Of the 118,000 thousand homeless people the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates are living in California, more than 60 percent live on the streets.

In 2016, the San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless found 8,692 people living on the streets or in shelters in San Diego. Of those, 14 percent reported having a severe mental illness.

Aguirre joined Midday Edition on Wednesday to discuss the "No Place Like Home" program’s potential impact in San Diego County.