The federal government is considering changing the formula by which it doles out funds to combat homelessness. The current setup handicaps San Diego. But at least three cities that benefit from the current arrangement – Chicago, New York and Philadelphia – don’t want it to change, and are vigorously opposing the plans.
By Joe Cantlupe.San Diego is eager to see an overhaul to the federal formula that doles out money to cities to combat homelessness – the current setup gives more money to cities that have smaller homeless populations than San Diego. But at least three cities that benefit from the current arrangement – Chicago, New York and Philadelphia – don’t want it to change, and are vigorously opposing the plans, saying the effort would cost them millions of dollars, federal records show.
For more than a year, San Diego Rep. Scott Peters has led the charge to revise Department of Housing and Urban Development standards that would help San Diego receive the kind of funding that city and county officials believe it should receive, based on its homeless population. Peters first approached HUD about revising the formula in 2013, after Voice of San Diego revealed that cities with far smaller homeless populations received far more funding.
San Diego’s homeless population is the fourth largest in the country but ranks 22nd in Continuum of Care funding – the system by which the federal government doles out money to cities or regions – according to the 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.
But under new regulatory plans being considered by HUD, San Diego may receive as much as $3 million more in funding for homeless programs to serve 8,700 people, justifying its ranking among the top U.S. cities. The $13.3 million San Diego received in 2015 would be increased to $16.6 million under the proposal.
“I know that matching the resources with the need should be a priority for everyone. I think something is wrong with the formula that now exists. I think most people get that,” Peters said in an interview. “We want a firm opportunity and a fair shake, that’s all.”