Homelessness Declared Public Health Crisis in San Diego

San Diego County Supervisors voted Tuesday to declare homelessness a public health crisis.

The county chief administrative officer has been directed to with local governments and the Regional Task Force on Homelessness on a regional approach to solving the problem. Board Vice Chairwoman Nora Vargas said, "Making homelessness a top priority will allow the county to review its existing programs and ``really think about solutions that impact our communities."

Supervisor Jim Desmond said he was glad to see a region-wide approach, but said much work is needed to tackle the crisis. ``If we don't deal with it, there's going to be (a) greater cost in the future,'' Desmond said..

In a statement released after the board's vote, Deacon Jim Vargas of Father Joe's Villages expressed support for the declaration.``It is often said that housing is health care,'' Vargas said. ``We can affirm that housing is one of the most fundamental social determinants of health. Ensuring stable housing for all improves both the well-being of individuals and communities. It also helps prevent the trauma of homelessness, as well as serious health conditions among unhoused people." `Vargas added, `This is an opportunity to send a clear message that our region is united and committed to finding solutions."

Bill Walton Blasts Mayor Gloria Over Homelessness

San Diego basketball legend Tuesday called for Mayor Todd Gloria to resign. "Paradise Lost: This is the city of San Diego, a once great city. Sadly, and with a broken heart, I can no longer claim San Diego is the greatest place on Earth," said Walton. Along with those from the Lucky Duck Foundation they held a news conference to address how local entities and elected officials handling the homelessness crisis. “Todd Gloria campaigned for his job on the promise that he would fix the homeless humanitarian and public heath crisis in our once great city. Todd Gloria has made it worse,” Walton said.

Gloria's director of communications Rachel Laing responded. "Today's `news conference' was simply a tantrum full of self- aggrandizing hyperbole and outright lies," she told City News Service. "San Diegans are frustrated with the worsening homelessness crisis, and Mayor Gloria shares that frustration. But unlike Mr. Walton, Mayor Gloria is translating that frustration into decisive, sustained action to improve the situation. To say that he has done nothing on homelessness is objectively false."

(Photo reporting partner 10News)

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