Voters back housing for vets, homeless, mentally ill (2024)

San DiegoSan Diego—San Diego County residents and other Californians came out in support of two propositions that will fund affordable housing for people in need and people who have mental health issues.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting following Tuesday’s election, Proposition 1 passed with 54 percent of the votes statewide and 51 percent in San Diego County. The proposition authorizes $4 billion in general obligation bonds for existing affordable housing programs.

Proposition 2 passed with 61 percent statewide and 60 percent in San Diego County. The proposition authorizes about $2 billion in bonds to fund housing programs for people with mental illness and is expected to build 20,000 permanent supportive housing units under a state program called No Place Like Home.

“Everything is kind of coming together nicely,” said John Seymour, vice president of acquisitions and forward planning for National Community Renaissance, a Rancho Cucamonga-based nonprofit specializing in affordable housing for families, seniors, special-needs residents and the workforce.

The new funding is just one of a few new positive developments Seymour saw for affordable housing. State Assembly Bill 2162, which takes effect in January, will streamline the approval process for affordable units, possibly cutting six months or a full year off construction times, Seymour said.

He predicted that money from Proposition 2 could help fund the construction of 3,000 housing units in San Diego County. He also expected the development process to be smoother than it had been because builders will work with the county rather than Sacramento.

“I can’t tell you what a relief that is,” he said. “They’re local and understand our projects a little better than Sacramento.”

National Community Renaissance projects include Vista del Puente in Seacrest, scheduled to open next month with 38 units for homeless veterans, an Encanto project under construction with eight units for veterans, a 95-unit Nestor project for chronically homeless people and a 50-unit project for formerly homeless seniors scheduled to break ground next week in San Ysidro.

Charles Schmid, chief operating officer of affordable-housing developer Chelsea Investment Corporation, also was optimistic that the proposition would spark more housing for people with mental challenges experiencing homelessness.

“With the passage of Prop. 2, a funding source is now available to help construct these much-needed units to help address the housing crisis,” he wrote in an e-mail. “No Place Like Home provides capital funding, as well as operating subsidies and support, in order to get the projects from the planning stages to construction.”

Stephen Russell, executive director of the San Diego Housing Federation, said San Diego County could receive $125 million from Propsition 2 over four years, beginning with $40 million that will be available soon for developers.

The money will come from a 2004 initiative that placed a 1 percent tax on income above $1 million to fund mental health services.

While supporters of Proposition 2 included the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Contra Costa County chapter of the organization opposed it.

Gigi Crowder of the Contra Costa County chapter said her group opposed the proposition because it would divert money for services to fund housing, which she saw as a recipe for disaster.

“We made housing our number-one priority in Contra Costa, but we didn’t think it would be at the expense of treatment,” she said.

Russell said it is true that some money for services will be diverted for housing, but he stressed that the housing projects would be connected to supportive services.

The San Diego Housing Authority had supported the propositions and hosted a September Proposition 1 rally attended by state Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and a coalition from business, labor, the health industry and nonprofits.

“In some ways, it’s terribly exciting because we have money,” Russell said Wednesdsay morning.

The excitement over Proposition 1 was tempered, however, because of uncertainty about how much funding San Diego may receive.

The proposition provides $4 billion to house veterans, low-income residents and other groups, but San Diego will have to compete with other cities for allocations based on matching local funds, he said.

Los Angeles and San Francisco are likely to get more money than San Diego because those cities have more revenue available, he said.

Russell said he was encouraged by changes coming to the San Diego City Council and county Board of Supervisors following the election, but he also saw a need for a new source of revenue to bring in more from the state.

The Housing Authority had floated the idea of a $900 million bond earlier this year, and that measure is even more enticing if it could lead to a greater share of Proposition 1 money, he said.

“We’re having international discussions soon,” he said about the bond proposal. “My expectations is we’re still planning on the 2020 ballot.”

Twitter: @GaryWarthUT


Voters back housing for vets, homeless, mentally ill (2024)


Voters back housing for vets, homeless, mentally ill? ›

1 to fund mental health programs for homeless. A measure in California that proposed spending billions of dollars on housing and treatment for homeless people with mental health and substance abuse issues narrowly secured enough votes to pass Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Why do so many vets end up homeless? ›

In addition to the complex set of factors that affect most homeless individuals lack of affordable housing, poverty, job or income loss, mental illness, substance abuse, health problems, etc. many veterans live with the lingering effect of PTSD, often compounded by a lack of family and social support networks.

What branch has the most homeless veterans? ›

Branch of service – Veterans who served in the Army, representing about half of all Veterans in the study, had the highest homelessness incidence (4.6%), followed by the Navy (3.3%) and the Marines (3.1%).

Does the US help homeless veterans? ›

Go to "Domiciliary Care" for more information on Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs. The Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) offers the following special programs to help homeless Veterans: Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs. Homeless Grant and Per Diem Program.

How much of the homeless population is made up of veterans? ›

In 2022, there were more than 580,000 individuals in need of housing in the United States. And while less than 10% of people in America are veterans, almost 13% of the adult population experiencing homelessness is made up of veterans.

What does SDF mean in homeless? ›

SDF is an acronym for sans domicile fixe, French for “with no permanent residence”. The term SDF is typically used in French media to identify a transient or homeless person.

What percent of veterans have mental health issues? ›

A 2014 study found that one in four veterans meet the diagnostic criteria for a mental health issue, with one in 10 struggling with multiple conditions. Among the most commonly diagnosed conditions is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which originated from research on Vietnam War veterans.

What state has the highest rate of homeless veterans? ›

The highest concentration of homeless veterans live in California, a state that struggles with chronically high levels of homelessness more broadly. As with many other societal issues in the United States, such as wages and health, racial disparities persist in the case of veteran homelessness as well.

What percentage of veterans are in poverty? ›

The Census Bureau estimates that 7.5% of veterans in 2022 (approximately 1.2 million) reported income below the poverty level. The poverty rate for the entire US civilian population over age 18 is 11.6%.

How many veterans are over the age of 65? ›

At that time, older veterans who were at least 65 made up about 37 percent of all living veterans in the United States. By 2021, this proportion increased to 49 percent, even though the number of older veterans fell from 9.7 million to 8.1 million during this period.

Do you get a housing allowance with VA disability? ›

We offer housing grants for Veterans and service members with certain service-connected disabilities so they can buy or change a home to meet their needs and live more independently.

Does the US government give money to the homeless? ›

Each year, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awards Homeless Assistance Grants to communities that administer housing and services at the local level.

What is the best charity for homeless veterans? ›

NCHV is the only national organization solely focused on ending veteran homelessness. We work to achieve our mission by promoting collaboration, shaping policy, building service capacity, ensuring accountability, and managing a referral helpline for veterans experiencing and at-risk of homelessness.

Why do so many veterans end up homeless? ›

Veterans have low marriage rates and high divorce rates; and, currently, 1 in 5 veterans is living alone. Social networks are particularly important for those who have a crisis or need temporary help. Without this assistance, they are at high risk for homelessness.

Which city has the most homeless veterans? ›

In greater Los Angeles, VA permanently housed 1,790 homeless Veterans in 2023 —the most of any VA in America. This was a 38% increase over last year's total of 1,301, and 19% above VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System's (VAGLAHS) 2023 calendar year goal of putting 1,500 heroes into homes.

Are veterans more likely to be homeless than civilians? ›

According to the latest data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, veterans make up about 7% of the population experiencing homelessness on any given night but only about 5% of the total population in America.

Why do veterans struggle financially? ›

Veterans may be at greater risk for money mismanagement due to lack of financial experience, targeted predatory loans, and service-related traumatic brain injury. The highest levels of financial stress were found in post 9/11 service members and those closest to retirement.

Why do so many homeless have dogs? ›

A Sense of Purpose: For many people experiencing homelessness, their animal companion is more than just a pet; they are a lifeline that imbues their lives with meaning and purpose. In a world that can often feel devoid of compassion, the affection and loyalty of a pet provide a comforting presence that many rely on.

Why are veterans considered a vulnerable population? ›

Veterans as a Vulnerable Population

After coming home from war, many soldiers face physical, mental, and social issues that make them a vulnerable population. Some of these issues include, but are not limited to: Brain Damage. Depression.

What are the risk factors for veteran homelessness? ›

Adverse childhood experiences, discharge status aside from honorable, lower service-connected disability rating or no service-connected disability rating, history of military sexual trauma, and presence of a mental health condition and/or substance use disorder were consistently associated with an increased risk of ...

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