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Quality of Life

Shortage Of Rental Housing Hampers North County Homeless Initiative

Greg Anglea, executive director of Interfaith Community Services and 
vice president of Alliance for Regional Solutions, which coordinates  the North County 25 Cities Project.
Promise Yee
Greg Anglea, executive director of Interfaith Community Services and vice president of Alliance for Regional Solutions, which coordinates the North County 25 Cities Project.

Monday marks the first 100 days of a North County initiative to end veteran and chronic homelessness.

The initiative is based on a collaborative model already underway in San Diego, called 25 Cities. The North County 25 Cities project surpassed most of its initial goals, but not all.

A group of North County cities, nonprofits, and charities now uses a common assessment tool and share a database to connect homeless individuals with the best resources and find permanent housing.

Greg Anglea is the executive director of Interfaith Community Services and vice president of Alliance for Regional Solutions, which coordinates the North County 25 Cities Project.

He said the group’s efforts have assessed 323 homeless individuals, secured seven full-time navigators to help individuals with resource and housing paperwork and referred 123 individuals to housing resources.

The group managed to find permanent housing for 17 people, but that fell short of the goal to find permanent housing for 40 people in the first 100 days. Anglea said a shortage of rental housing is what has created a bottleneck for their efforts.

“We have the resources to move individuals into their own homes,” Anglea said. “We do not have enough homes to move them into.”

He added that with a countywide three percent vacancy rate for rental properties, landlords can be highly selective about who moves in.

“For somebody who is overcoming homelessness and may have a poor credit score, and maybe has a checkered rental history, it’s very difficult to get approved for an apartment even when there is funding there to pay for the rent,” Anglea said.

Anglea said the initiative means resources are being better used and right-sized to fit homeless individuals’ needs and new resources are becoming available. But what’s needed is landlords who will work with the project and give homeless veterans and individuals a chance to start a new life.

At last count there were 1,660 homeless people living in North County, almost 20 percent of all the homeless counted in San Diego County.

Corrected:
Promise Yee is a North County freelance writer. Contact her at promise.yee1@gmail.com. Twitter: @promisenews. Facebook: promise.yee.1.