With the highest national percentage of homeless and four of its cities in the Top 10 most expensive in the country, California has the on-going challenge to meet the emergency resource needs of those on the streets while increasing the availability of affordable housing for individuals and families on fixed or low incomes. San Diego, in particular, has a 3% vacancy rate with rents increasing by over 4% in a recent one month period, and has the second highest percentage of homeless in the State. With barriers like these, renters from all income levels find it difficult to near impossible to secure stable, permanent housing, and are looking for light at the end of the tunnel at every turn.
That light just may be No Place Like Home, a $2 billion bond to be placed on this November’s ballot as Proposition 2. No Place Like Home would fund capital projects that include supportive housing units for homeless individuals and families with serious mental illness within small and large affordable housing communities offering permanent homes for a variety of San Diegans at a price point they can afford. The units funded through No Place Like Home will come with mental health services appropriate to the level of need and be close to transportation, other services and community-based services.
The funding formula for No Place Like Home is based on a formula factoring each County’s population and Point In Time Count, and in some cases the amount of households paying more than 50% of their income towards housing. If Proposition 2 passes, San Diego County stands to receive over $100 million in funds to create, rehabilitate or preserve supportive housing units for the No Place Like Home population. Development criteria for No Place Like Home communities and units will likely follow very similar standards established for the Mental Health Services Act housing program such as limiting the number of program units within a development to ensure mixed population and mixed income communities and prevent segregation of individuals with disabilities, square feet minimums and community space recommendations.
With at least 29% of adult and older adult County Behavioral Health Services (BHS) participants and 3% of participants in the children, youth and families BHS services reporting that they are homeless, the need for supportive housing is clear and urgent. In San Diego November cannot come soon enough.