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Roberts: “Don’t leave the county out” of Project 25

August 18, 2010 - 3:49 pm

Ron Roberts talks about Project 25 (photo by Kelly Davis)

At the press conference this morning to announce the launch of Project 25, the United Way’s new initiative to get 25 of the county’s most costly chronically homeless people off the street and into supportive housing, San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts got some time at the podium:

A couple of years ago, the only solution [to chronic homelessness] was an MOA [memorandum of agreement] between the city and county. Documents and all that are nice, but let’s get into solution-focused programs.

Since 2006, when the regional Plan to End Chronic Homelessness (PTECH) was unveiled, the county Board of Supervisors has been slammed for being one of only two local governments (Santee being the other) who’ve refused to publicly endorse the plan. I asked Roberts about this in January 2009 and what he told me then echos what he said today. Here’s an excerpt from a blog post I wrote after talking to him:

Roberts said that the supervisors want to see something more concrete. Right now, endorsing [PTECH] is, largely, a symbolic gesture of support…. It doesn’t obligate any local governments to actually build supportive housing (that job’s pretty much being left up to non-profits and private developers who want to tap into federal funding sources or receive tax credits).

“We try to stay out of symbolic gestures,” Roberts told me. “If we’re going to endorse something, we’re going to do something.”

Roberts said today that he told PTECH Commissioner Brian Maienschein, “Don’t leave the county out” when Maienschein first started talking about Project 25. The United Way’s issued a request for proposals to find a nonprofit to implement the project. The county’s agreed to provide the social-services component and the San Diego Housing Commission will provide housing vouchers. For more about Project 25, check out my story in this week’s CityBeat. I’ll also be blogging a bit more about it tomorrow and Friday.

One Comment leave one →
  1. sdhfexec permalink
    August 18, 2010 - 5:35 pm 5:35 pm

    The county has been getting a bit of a bad rap from the city for not doing anything for the homeless. The County funds ALL of the supportive services that are needed to help keep the homeless in permanent supportive housing. They are also providing rent subsidies from the Mental Health Services Act funding for several hundred mentally ill homeless. Of course they are doing this with State pass-through funding, but the City is funding their homeless efforts from federal funding and/or the earned income from the “privatization” of the public housing by the San Diego Housing Commission. The county does stand to save general fund dollars from their indigent medical care costs and the jail costs for moving these high cost users to supportive housing. They should commit some of those savings to this program.

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