Housing First – San Diego


SDHC’s Homelessness Action Plan

(619) 578-7768



HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO: 2018-2020, the San Diego Housing Commission’s (SDHC) homelessness action plan, directs $79.7 million in federal, City of San Diego, and SDHC resources over three fiscal years into six programs that will create permanent housing opportunities for 3,000 individuals and families experiencing homelessness in the city.

This action plan is rooted in the national “Housing First” model of addressing homelessness – to provide individuals experiencing homelessness with housing as quickly as possible, with supportive services as needed.

These new initiatives build on the accomplishments of the first three years of HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, which was launched on November 12, 2014, and is on target to impact the lives of close to 3,000 San Diegans experiencing homelessness—Veterans, families and individuals in the City of San Diego—which far exceeds its initial goal of serving 1,500 individuals.

SDHC Moving Home Rapid Rehousing

Population Served: Individuals and families who become homeless because of an unexpected life experience, such as a job loss, domestic violence or a medical crisis

Provides funding to house approximately 600 episodic/short-term homeless households

  • Immediate access to units identified through the Landlord Engagement and Assistance Program (LEAP)
  • Increased number of SDHC-owned units dedicated to rapid rehousing (from 25 to 50)
  • “Rapid Rehousing Plus” pilot program:
    • Extends Rapid Rehousing assistance for an additional year
    • Awards 25 Short-term Transitional Subsidies to existing Rapid Rehousing recipients who need support beyond the two-year timeframe
    • Provides light case management
    • Establishes partnerships with local rapid rehousing providers to identify eligible participants

Budget: $7.7 million

Funding Sources Federal Moving To Work (MTW) Funds; City of San Diego Inclusionary Housing Fund; and SDHC Local Funds

A Moving Home Story

Landlord Engagement & Assistance Program (LEAP)

Population Served: Homeless individuals and families referred by SDHC partner agencies or organizations that provide supportive services to homeless San Diegans

Assists at least 3,000 homeless households by increasing resources for SDHC’s Landlord Engagement and Assistance Program (LEAP), an expansion of a landlord engagement program first introduced in the Housing Our Heroes initiative of HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO

  • $500 for the first unit landlords rent to a homeless household and $250 for each additional unit
  • An average of $1,500 in security deposits and $100 in utility assistance per household
  • Up to $1.5 million set aside in a contingency fund to help landlords cover expenses (e.g., repairs that exceed security deposits)
  • Dedicated SDHC housing specialists to answer landlords’ questions

Budget: $6.6 million

Funding Sources: City of San Diego Inclusionary Housing Fund; SDHC Local Funds; and Low-Income Housing Funds

To assist San Diegans experiencing homelessness who have pets, PetSmart Charities, Inc. in January 2018 awarded a $20,000 grant to SDHC to pay pet deposits to landlords and cover expenses related to the impact pets may have on a rental unit

Click here for more information about LEAP

A Landlord Story

Homelessness Prevention & Diversion

Population Served: Individuals and families at risk of homelessness

Helps up to 1,450 households remain permanently housed, which reduces the demand for temporary shelter beds

  • Provides assistance with maintaining their current housing
  • Identifies alternative permanent housing and other necessary support so households stay out of the shelter system
  • Provides counseling, mediation, and financial resources

Budget: $2.9 million

Funding Sources: City of San Diego Inclusionary Housing Fund; City of San Diego Lease Revenue Funds; and SDHC Local Funds

A Homeless Prevention Story

New Permanent Supportive Housing

Population Served: Chronically homeless individuals with an identified special need

Creates 500 new permanent supportive rental housing units that are also eligible for Federal rental housing vouchers

  • Up to $30 million to create at least 300 new affordable permanent supportive housing units
  • Up to $20 million in Federal MTW and local funds to acquire Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) or similar property types for the creation of at least 200 additional affordable permanent supportive housing units

Budget: $61.1 million

Funding Sources: Federal MTW Funds; San Diego Affordable Housing Fund; SDHC Local Funds; and SDHC Federal Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

Notice of Funding Availability

Permanent Supportive Housing (No. 2019-01-SDHC)

On September 4, 2018, SDHC released a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for up to $20 million to create affordable rental housing with supportive services for San Diegans experiencing homelessness. This NOFA also includes 525 federal rental housing vouchers committed by SDHC to provide rental assistance for San Diegans experiencing homelessness. This NOFA will remain open for applications until September 4, 2020, or until all available funds/vouchers have been committed, whichever occurs first. The NOFA and any applicable updates, including notification of NOFA closing, is accessible on the SDHC Vendor Portal with PlanetBids.

The $20 million NOFA for permanent supportive housing generally would be subject to federal prevailing wages if nine or more federal rental housing vouchers are awarded to the development and/or 12 or more units of the development are supported by federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds. If the development involves other funding sources that are not administered by SDHC, the most restrictive of the applicable federal and state prevailing wage requirements would apply. The developer is responsible for ensuring that the correct prevailing wage is paid.

SDHC Moving On Rental Assistance

Population Served: Formerly homeless families and individuals who are ready to transition out of permanent supportive housing, but who still need rental assistance

Provides rental assistance for up to 50 formerly homeless households

  • Rental assistance through an MTW initiative for approximately 25 individuals in the first year and up to 50 individuals by the third year
  • Assistance for formerly homeless individuals who are able to live more independently while accessing community-based resources as needed
  • Limited permanent supportive housing resources become available for vulnerable homeless individuals with greater need
  • Partnership with the County of San Diego Behavioral Health Services Division

Budget: $1.2 million

Funding Sources: Federal MTW Funds

Coordinated Outreach

Population Served: Homeless individuals and families, including those who tend to decline offers of service

Expands support and coordination among existing street outreach efforts

  • Funds an outreach coordinator position at the Regional Task Force on the Homeless
  • Connects individuals and families experiencing unsheltered homelessness to available housing resources
  • Incorporates data-driven strategies into existing outreach efforts
  • Tracks accepted and declined offers of shelter or other assistance
  • Connects those performing outreach with information on real-time opportunities and availability
  • Works directly and strategically with those who have been known to decline services

Budget: $300,000

Funding Sources: SDHC Local Funds


The programs of the first three years of HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, which was launched on November 12, 2014, are on target to impact the lives of close to 3,000 homeless San Diegans—Veterans, families and individuals in the City of San Diego – which far exceeds the initial goal of 1,500 homeless San Diegans:

  • Award Development Funds – Up to $30 Million ($10 million per year): Awarded $29.8 million toward the creation of 407 permanent supportive housing units.
  • Commit up to 1,500 Federal Rental Housing Vouchers: Committed 1,986 rental housing vouchers to nonprofit agencies and affordable housing developments to assist homeless San Diegans.
  • Renovate Hotel Churchill: Create 72 units of permanent supportive housing, including 56 for homeless Veterans; 8 for transitional age youth, ages 18-25; and 8 for adults exiting the corrections system. SDHC invested $9.2 million in Moving to Work (MTW) funds toward the $20.6 million total rehabilitation cost. Grand Reopening took place September 19, 2016.
  • Invest MTW Federal Funds to Acquire Property: Invested $15 million in MTW funds to purchase the 120-unit Village North Senior Garden Apartments on May 1, 2015, and set aside 44 rental apartments, or 36 percent, for homeless seniors.
  • Dedicate SDHC-owned Housing Units: Committed 25 SDHC-owned housing units year-round for rapid rehousing for homeless San Diegans.
  • The Guardian Scholars Program: Provide rental assistance for up to 100 San Diego State University (SDSU) students who have been homeless or at risk of homelessness. Click here to watch a Guardian Scholar’s story
  • The Monarch School Project: Provide rental housing vouchers for up to 25 families who have at least one child enrolled at the Monarch School, one of the few schools in the nation specifically serving homeless children; this is also an SDHC MTW initiative.
  • Housing Our Heroes: Provide housing opportunities for 1,000 homeless Veterans in the city of San Diego. On September 28, 2017, the Housing Our Heroes initiative reach its goal of helping 1,000 homeless Veterans in the City of San Diego secure rental housing, with 435 individual landlords joining the initiative.

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