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San Diego County Could Get $3M Boost In Federal Funding For Homeless

Homeless people push their carts on 17th Street in downtown San Diego, June 28, 2016.
Susan Murphy
Homeless people push their carts on 17th Street in downtown San Diego, June 28, 2016.

San Diego County Could Get $3M Boost In Federal Funding For Homeless
HUD Proposal Could Boost San Diego Homeless Funding By $3M Per Year GUEST: Thomas Theisen, president, San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Tuesday released four new proposals to distribute homeless funding throughout the country, which could increase San Diego County’s share by about 20 percent.

The county's baseline funding is about $13 million a year from HUD, and after various bonuses, it receives about $17 million. But advocates have claimed the formula is outdated and gives San Diego County less money than cities with far fewer homeless people. One of the government’s factors is pre-1940 housing units, which gives older cities in the Northeast a big advantage.

“Those numbers obviously favor older cities, which are declining cities, not new, younger, growing cities like San Diego,” Thomas Theisen, president of the San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless, told KPBS Midday Edition on Friday.

The new proposals wouldn’t use the pre-1940 housing factor and would instead consider the number of rental units in a region and the gap between demand and supply for affordable housing, among other metrics.

San Diego County's HUD baseline funding would increase by $2.5 million to $3.5 million a year under the preliminary formulas. Other cities would lose funding under the plans. Buffalo, New York, for example, would fall from about $14 million in funding to about $7 million.

HUD’s proposals are in a 60-day public comment period.

“That money could easily be used to do some really remarkable things in this community,” Theisen said, citing for example providing incentives to landlords to house homeless.