The number of people who are unhoused in the city of San Diego has significantly increased over the last few years and the people entering homelessness for the first time, nearly doubling from 2,326 in 2019 to a peak of 4,152 in 2020. Finding housing and resources while living on the streets, in cars, or bouncing from one relative to another, is a difficult feat as resources are provided by many different organizations and government departments.
In the summer of 2018, Price Philanthropies partnered with People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), the North Park Main Street Association, City Heights Business Associations, and City Heights CDC to create a neighborhood based Homeless Outreach program in order to provide a person-centered, housing-first, and trauma-informed approach through one-on-one case management. An outreach specialist was hired through PATH to focus on the individual needs of those experiencing homelessness in the North Park and City Heights neighborhoods.
“This program is successful because it is neighborhood-based,” stated Joel John Roberts, Chief Executive Officer at PATH. “This allows outreach specialists to prioritize assistance with input from the community. Community members let us know where people congregate, what services people need, and which familiar faces are most ready for assistance.”
The impact of this model has far exceeded the expectations of the collaborative. From January 2019 through March 2021, the Homeless Outreach Program in Mid-City has found housing for 189 people, has provided service a total of 2,287 times, and has provided case management for 250 individuals.
“San Diego civic leaders have been paying close attention to the outcome data from our Mid-City Homeless Coalition pilot,” shared Jennette Shay, VP of Grant Making at Price Philanthropies. “After two years of strong results, San Diego City Councilmembers Gomez and Ward were able to allocate $2 million to scale the program Citywide. In addition, the County of San Diego has issued a RFP to replicate the model in their jurisdictions and a contract is expected to be awarded this summer.”