Public Options Needed for San Diego's Worst-in-Nation Homeless Shelter Shortage

San Diego has the fewest number of beds for homeless per capita in the nation and must directly intervene to increase the stock of both temporary and permanent beds, according to planning activist Murtaza Baxamusa.

2 minute read

May 31, 2018, 11:00 AM PDT

By wadams92101

San Diego, California

Simone Hogan / Shutterstock

San Diego is known for its beaches, sunshine, and zoo. However, tourists are often shocked by the number of homeless sleeping on its downtown streets. The city has been known to 'sweep its homeless under the rug' for major events. For example, just before the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the city "posted signs instructing hundreds of homeless people living on the streets near Petco Park that they had just 72 hours to vacate the area," as well as other measures.

San Diego has the lowest number of “housing beds for the homeless in San Diego relative to the population size of the region,” writes planning activist Murtaza Baxamusa. Homelessness is a pervasive problem, he continues:

Schools are broadly impacted by homelessness too. Last year, 23,800 students in San Diego’s schools were either unsheltered, or were in unstable living arrangements, such as shelters, couch surfing, or doubled up with another family.

Baxamusa goes on to explore some of the more successful programs around the world, including:

  • Baltimore, San Francisco and Portland have considerably increased their proportional stock of Permanent Supportive Housing.
  • [A]dopt a “Right to Shelter” law which guarantees shelter with varying degrees of regulations similar to those in the state of Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and New York City, and has resulted in a considerable stock of temporary accommodations.
  • The People’s Policy Project suggests constructing a large number of government-owned municipal housing developments. Unlike traditional American public housing, all city residents will be eligible to live there.  (This strategy has been a mainstay in several European countries.)

Baxamusa concludes:

[W]e must explore public options to provide affordable homes for all. We cannot wait for the private sector lured by government subsidies to solve this problem alone.

For more information, please read the source article.

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