“There’s nothing more tragic than a child who is homeless through no fault of their own, and we must do everything we can to give them a chance to succeed in life,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “This award will go a long way toward creating new opportunities for homeless youth that don’t currently exist. It’s also a recognition of the tremendous strides we’ve made to expand homeless programs and services, and an affirmation of the hard work the Task Force has put in to reduce homelessness across the San Diego region.”
As part of HUD’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, the grant funding supports a wide range of housing interventions, including Rapid Re-Housing, permanent supportive housing, transitional housing and host homes.
“Young people who are victims of abuse, family conflict, or aging out of foster care are especially vulnerable to homelessness,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “We’re working with our local partners to support innovative new approaches to help young people find stable housing, break the cycle of homelessness and lead them on a path to self-sufficiency.”
San Diego is one of 11 communities nationwide – and the only one in California – to be selected for the program. Those communities now have four months to develop and submit to HUD a coordinated community plan to reduce youth homelessness. Recipients can begin requesting funds for specific projects as soon as they are ready. They will also participate in a program evaluation to inform the federal effort to prevent and end youth homelessness going forward and serve as national leaders on the issue.
“Enduring homelessness has an immense and at times irreparable impact on a person's life, particularly for young persons,” said HUD Regional Administrator James Stracner. “That is why San Diego's aim to improve and expand engagement and support efforts for homeless youth so they may obtain housing and greater self-reliance is so important.”
At a recent news conference outside City Hall, Faulconer, Councilmember Chris Ward and RTFH CEO Gordon Walker accepted the award on behalf of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless.
“Far too many young San Diegans are living in crisis on our streets – it’s unacceptable,” said Ward, the RTFH’s vice chair. “The HUD funds being awarded to San Diego are a critical addition to our recently increased resources to combat youth homelessness. Our next step is to invest these dollars into the housing, systems, and services that ensure this vulnerable population will always have a safe and secure place to call to call home.”
The Regional Task Force on the Homeless is an integrated array of stakeholders committed to preventing and alleviating homelessness in San Diego. Last year, the task force formally merged with the regional Continuum of Care (CoC) – a consortium of representatives tasked with strategic planning and coordination of resources to strengthen their collective impact. Leveraging the comprehensive resources of the CoC, the new RTFH has become a singular organization with a singular goal: to end homelessness in the San Diego region.
County Supervisor Ron Roberts, who chairs the RTFH, said: “This is a good news day for the RTFH’s ongoing efforts to help out and up one of our most vulnerable populations. I want to thank HUD for acknowledging with this grant the fine work that CEO Gordon Walker and his RTFH team have put into addressing youth homelessness in San Diego County.”
In granting the $7.94 million award, HUD recognized the RTFH’s successful initiatives targeting specific homeless subpopulations. For example, the RTFH is implementing a Youth Coordinated Entry System to match housing and services to the needs of young people, specifically those experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
“The Regional Task Force on the Homeless is positioned to effectively use these funds to develop innovative programs aimed at addressing youth homelessness in the region,”a Walker said. “We look forward to collaborating with local stakeholders as we continue our mission to prevent and alleviate homelessness in San Diego.”