October 24, 2013
Beneath the sunny veneer of America’s Finest City lies the third-largest homeless population in the Unites States; a statistic reported by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in December, 2012. For the thousands of homeless men, women and children in San Diego County, the end to their plight has recently been strengthened by the addition of the Homelessness Working Group, a collaboration of funder members of San Diego Grantmakers, to the growing group of public and private partners supporting the activities of United Way of San Diego County.
“What this partnership does is combine the resources of those actively fighting homelessness in San Diego so that we can be more effective and more efficient in resolving this massive issue in our community,” says Doug Sawyer, president & CEO of United Way of San Diego County.
According to Sawyer, the partnership will allow United Way to capitalize on the work already done by the Homelessness Working Group since its formation in 2003, while also increasing United Way’s efforts to affect system-level change to ending homelessness. In fact, the two entities have a history of close work together; United Way has been one of the philanthropic organizations at the Homelessness Working Group table, and the collaborative members were early supporters of United Way’s Home Again campaign to end chronic homelessness.
The Homelessness Working Group’s accomplishments include the Keys to Housing: Ending Family Homelessness initiative, which includes a website offering resources to help homeless families as well as a “toolbox” report containing hundreds of potential policies and practices for adoption by local jurisdictions. As of April of this year, 14 of the County’s 17 cities had endorsed the Keys initiative. They also played a critical role in securing $13 million in Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing funds from the 2009 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, and helped the Corporation for Supportive Housing maintain a San Diego office and educate and assist potential supportive housing providers.
Effective with the announcement of this new partnership, the Homelessness Working Group will begin meeting at United Way to learn about and leverage their resources toward its implementation of best practices such as the Housing First model. This transition from operating under the facilitation of San Diego Grantmakers is a logical alignment of interests.
“We are excited to see the Homelessness Working Group take this important next step in their long-term commitment to finding solutions for homelessness,” says San Diego Grantmakers Executive Director Nancy Jamison. “San Diego Grantmakers is proud to have incubated this group and we look forward to the great changes that will come from this next stage in their evolution.”
Moving forward, the partnership will reinforce relationships with government officials and private donors in order to continue to provide the funds, services, mental healthcare and job readiness assistance necessary to end the cycle of homelessness.