‘Healthy, Hired, and Housed’: Cities Try to Get Homeless Off Streets

Jim Luksic
By Jim Luksic
July 8, 2023US News
‘Healthy, Hired, and Housed’: Cities Try to Get Homeless Off Streets
A homeless encampment in Sacramento, Calif., on June 7, 2023. (Travis Gillmore/The Epoch Times)

On Thursday, San Diego opened a safe-sleeping area, the result of a similar initiative announced last month to increase services to stem the tide of homelessness, courtesy of the Homeless Strategies and Solutions Department.

According to Dave Rolland, deputy director of communications for San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, the budget that took effect on July 1 has enough funds to maintain the city’s existing service and shelter programs.

“It also added $840,000 to expand our Safe Parking program, and $5 million for the Safe Sleeping program that was launched last week with the opening of the Safe Sleeping site at 20th and B streets,” Mr. Rolland stated. “It also included $1.5 million for site improvements to establish new shelter locations.”

“With the City and the Housing Commission budgets combined,” he explained, “we are spending more than $200 million on shelter, services, and housing vouchers in the current fiscal year.”

Nonprofit Dreams for Change will oversee the Safe Sleep site. The organization’s website states that it seeks “paths to stability” for the homeless, and that it was founded in 2009 “to serve the needs of families and individuals who were struggling as a result of the recession’s economic downturn.”

NTD reached out to Dreams for Change via email, to which an employee replied, “We are not taking media requests at this time.”

San Diego’s fence-enclosed campsite at the Central Operations Yard is expected to have at least 130 tents for upward of 150 individuals.

In the fall, the Southern California city is expected to open a second area offering meals to inhabitants, in addition to showers, restrooms, and other amenities.

Nevada Service Provision

Las Vegas, Nevada, is another U.S. city that has introduced considerable measures to assist its substantial number of homeless people.

Jace Radke, public and media relations supervisor for the City of Las Vegas, responded by email to NTD on behalf of Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

“The city has robust services for those experiencing homelessness,” Mr. Radke wrote, making note of the city-funded, low-barrier Courtyard Homeless Resource Center, which allows entrance to anybody in need of a safe place to stay.

It’s particularly beneficial during the summer months, he said, when Las Vegas temperatures regularly climb above 100 degrees.

“At the courtyard clients have access to medical care, social services, shower and bathroom facilities, a computer lab, and more,” said Radke, who added that those in need have access to the city’s Arrow shuttle, which transports them to relevant agencies such as the DMV, the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army, the Social Security Office, and the Southern Nevada Health District.

“The goal,” Mr. Radke said, “is to assist those experiencing homelessness to become healthy, hired, and housed.”

In Las Vegas, city employees offer an array of services to people on the streets, he explained. “Each individual is different so these outreach efforts are tailored to each person,” Mr. Radke said.

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