San Diego Mayor Faulconer’s Bridge Shelter Program Expands to Serve More Families and Homeless Youth

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Council Approves Addition Of 138 Beds to Program, Creates Flexible Spending Pool For Homeless Programs

Tuesday, December 10, 2019, San Diego – Advancing San Diego’s efforts to reduce homelessness, the City Council today voted separately to expand Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer’s bridge shelter program for homeless individuals and to create a flexible funding pool to bolster homeless services and programs.

The expansion will occur early next year at the bridge shelter at Golden Hall. Father Joe’s Villages currently operates the 141-bed shelter for women and families in the North Terrace rooms of Golden Hall and now will expand with up to 138 beds in the South Terrace rooms.

A portion of the new beds will specifically serve Transition Aged Youth – at-risk youth between the ages of 18 and 24 who are transitioning from state custody or foster care. That group makes up 11 percent of San Diego’s unsheltered homeless population.

The bridge shelter program – overseen by the San Diego Housing Commission – provides temporary relief from the streets to hundreds of individuals every day with beds, meals, showers, restrooms, 24-hour security, alcohol and substance abuse counseling and job training as well as help to find permanent housing.

Today’s action puts San Diego on a path to achieve two of the targets laid out in the City’s new Community Action Plan on Homelessness. The plan – a roadmap for creating a more comprehensive system to reduce homelessness over 10 years – calls out the need to add 350-500 crisis response options like new shelter beds and other programs.

The expansion – which follows the opening of a fourth bridge shelter in November – will bring the total number of beds in the bridge shelter program to 931 citywide. The City’s bridge shelters include:

The City Council also approved the creation of a flexible pool of funding that will be used in innovative ways to bolster services and programs helping homeless individuals in San Diego using State Homeless Emergency Aid Program funding. In its first year, it will deploy up to $1 million in aid to individuals who need some form of low-level or short-term help to achieve housing stability, but who might not qualify for some of the City’s other homeless assistance programs. This will address a known gap in the system.

The City and the Housing Commission have collaborated to develop the program and clarify funding needs. The following were identified as target uses for the funds:

Flexible funding for housing-related financial assistance, services support and program operations, including targeting additional resources in the city’s bridge and interim shelters.
Exploring the development of a master leasing program to determine the feasibility of entering into lease agreements with landlords to secure units in existing markets for homeless individuals ready to exit into stable housing.

This is the latest investment as part of Mayor Faulconer’s “Connect. Support. House.” strategy to reduce homelessness. Mayor Faulconer has led the largest expansion of homeless services in City history by opening four bridge shelters, expanding a safe parking program for individuals living out of their vehicles, adding storage capacity and creating the Neighborhood Policing Division with homeless outreach teams to help address quality-of-life issues in neighborhoods.

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