Homeless veterans are spending weeks and even months seeking homes despite an influx of city and county incentives meant to encourage landlords to welcome them. The slow pace of progress could complicate San Diego’s ability to deliver on its goal to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2017.
Nearly a year after Mayor Kevin Faulconer pledged to house 1,000 veterans by March 2017, just 439 have moved into apartments or homes. More than 250 with vouchers or access to other rental assistance are seeking apartments in the city. County officials report another 100 veterans are looking elsewhere in the region as part of a separate initiative.
The pace could complicate San Diego’s ability to deliver on its goal to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2017, a deadline already extended after a failure to reach that goal in 2015.
Homeless veterans are spending weeks and even months seeking housing despite a major influx of incentives offered by the city and the county to encourage landlords to take them in.
Last year, veterans with Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers, which come with services and cover about 70 percent of a veteran’s rent, took an average of 75 days to find an apartment in San Diego County. A year later, the San Diego Veterans Affairs office reports it’s taking an average of 74 days.
Regional data shows local agencies are helping move more veterans off the streets but it’s come at a slower clip than they’d hoped. Last January’s annual homeless census documented a 16 percent year-over-year drop in veteran homelessness. The county and the cities of San Diego and Oceanside have since thrown more resources at the problem. They’re facing a bigger problem than most other communities nationwide: San Diego’s got the nation’s second-largest population of homeless veterans.