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Effort Underway In Hillcrest To Connect More Homeless To Services, Housing

Representatives from the city of San Diego, county of San Diego and local hom...

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: Representatives from the city of San Diego, county of San Diego and local homeless service providers hold a news conference in Hillcrest, Feb. 11, 2019.

Dubbed "Connect Hillcrest," the initiative has the city of San Diego, county of San Diego and homeless service providers concentrating efforts to try and either get people off the streets or some sort of help.

"If we all come together and stay focused over the course of a month — can we link more folks really into housing and supports and off the streets?" said San Diego County Health and Human Service Director Nick Macchione.

Macchione said if people do not want housing, they might be able to be connected to things like health insurance or food assistance.

"It’s when they’re ready," Macchione said. "And so the issue is they may not be ready to be housed — but they may be ready to go to a clinic, go to a center and get some services."

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Daniel Washburn, 32, said he has been living on the streets for the last six years and was able to talk with representatives from the new program.

"The manner in which they approached me allowed me to receive the information that they had to offer and not feel like I was being badgered by it or being accused of being homeless or being reminded so much of it," Washburn said as he began to tear up. "It brought it down to like a more personal level and let me like I don’t know feel more comfortable with what they’re saying instead of having to like feel like I have something to prove or just be offended by it."

Washburn had initially interrupted the news conference Tuesday, only to then be pleasantly surprised.

"I just didn’t expect them with my level of confrontation," Washburn said. "For like three of them at once to be like, 'What’s up, OK, you’re mad, I get it. How are you?'"

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Washburn said living on the streets is a constant struggle and he does not want to do it anymore.

"Today was more or less of like alright you’re talking about it and I’m ready for it," he said. "I want to hear like, I want to know that it can happen I want to feel like what you’re saying is true and that I can trust it because I can’t trust anything in my life right now or anyone."

In a month, county and city officials will evaluate the outreach program and see if can be expanded or replicated in other areas.

For a month there will be more homeless service providers in Hillcrest in an attempt to get more people off the streets.

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