SAN DIEGO (April 20, 2011) The average San Diegan on the Project 25 list cost taxpayers $218,552 in 2010; they had 16 ambulance rides, 17 emergency room visits and 5 inpatient medical stays.
The goal of Project 25, Home Again’s Frequent User Initiative, is to dramatically decrease these costs and significantly improve their quality of life. Today, the program announces its initial progress, enrolling 17 individuals and permanently housing four people.
“In a few short months, we have made great strides in identifying the top local homeless users of public resources and enrolling program participants,” said Commissioner Brian Maienschein. “This progress would not be possible without the strong collaborative efforts of both governmental and nonprofit organizations to end chronic homelessness in San Diego County.”
Project 25 is an unprecedented partnership between United Way of San Diego County and the City and County of San Diego. St. Vincent de Paul Village manages and oversees Project 25, with a goal to provide permanent housing (via San Diego Housing Commission) and supportive services (via County of San Diego) to at least 25 of San Diego County's chronically homeless,* who are some of the most frequent users of public resources. The three-year pilot program will track economic savings on a quarterly basis, with the first report out this summer.
As part of Project 25, the County of San Diego has compiled the first comprehensive data collection for San Diego’s 71 most frequent homeless users. There are 57 men and 14 women on the list, ranging in age from 23 to 68 and including eight veterans. The data includes the costs for emergency room visits, incarceration, jail mental health, ambulance trips, alcohol detox services and many other public resources. Seven San Diegans on the list currently cost over $500,000, and 16 individuals cost between $250,000 and $500,000.
For the past year, the enrolled individuals have incurred a combined total of 348 ambulance rides, 402 emergency room visits and 741 jail days, with a total cost of over $4.2 million, or nearly $250,000 per person.
“We are on a quest to seek out these 71 individuals and permanently house at least 25 of them,” said Father Joe Carroll of St. Vincent de Paul Village. “We are conducting street outreach, visiting the hospitals and jails, and using the Internet to locate potential Project 25 participants. We are extremely pleased that we have already enrolled more than half of our goal number and look forward to continuing to outreach, enroll and place more San Diegans in need of permanent supportive housing.”
Project 25’s additional partners include: Alpha Project, County of San Diego District Attorney, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Family Health Centers of San Diego, Salvation Army, San Diego County Sheriff’s Office, San Diego Housing Commission, San Diego Police Department, San Diego Rescue Mission, San Diego Medical Services Enterprise, Scripps Mercy Hospital and the UC San Diego Medical Center.
* The chronically homeless are defined as people who are continuously homeless for one year or without shelter four or more times in the past three years. There are 1,600 chronically homeless people throughout our region.
“Home Again” is United Way’s public engagement campaign to involve the broader community in ending chronic homelessness in San Diego County. It educates San Diegans about the proven “Housing First” model, which advocates for affordable housing first while simultaneously integrating supportive services. The campaign encourages the general public to “Learn more. Spread the word. Open a door.”
The chronically homeless are defined as people who are continuously homeless for one year or without shelter four or more times in the past three years. They often have some sort of disability. Although the chronically homeless are a minority of the overall homeless population, they drain significant resources – including legal, medical and emergency services – at a high cost to our community.
The funding United Way is raising will be spent on additional permanent supportive housing and services for the chronically homeless throughout San Diego County. For more information, visit http://www.homeagainsd.org, “like” on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter.
Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, United Way of San Diego County (UWSD) is a nonprofit organization that improves lives and creates long-lasting change. The United Way movement addresses the underlying causes of problems and mobilizes the community to solve education, income and health issues. LIVE UNITED is a call to action for everyone to become part of the change. UWSD’s 90th anniversary celebration will include a variety of events to celebrate the spirit of Living United and advancing the common good in San Diego. To learn more or to donate, visit www.uwsd.org.