Jonathon Herrera, Senior Advisor on Homeless Coordination, Office of Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, recently presented an informative program to our club members and guests on "San Diego's Homeless Initiative and Hepatitis-A Outbreak."  In discussing his plans to handle the growing number of unsheltered homeless in San Diego, Herrera said his primary goal was to engage everyday citizens and homeless individuals to ensure the City is making a difference and to implement both short-term and long-term strategies to address the hepatitis-A epidemic.  
According to Herrera, San Diego's homeless population has doubled in the past year.  The City has responded with a three-part strategy: (1) vaccination; (2) sanitation; and (3) education.  The problem exists mainly in the downtown area but also in other communities such as the San Diego Riverbed.  In conjunction with street sanitation and the addition of 200 porta-potty restrooms, the City's ongoing efforts are focused on public awareness, including street and community outreach, as well as its continued partnership with the Health and Human Services Agency.
There are currently around 20 Homelessness Initiatives, including: transitional campground areas; safe parking zones; temporary bridge shelters; housing navigation; and "Housing First."  Permanent supportive housing will take three to five years to achieve, but the City needs to do some things now and develop short-term initiatives.  In this regard, the City must play an active role in creating a community plan and implementing that plan.  As Herrera noted, "No issue is more deserving of our collaboration efforts than homelessness."