The below excerpt from the United Ways description of the PTECH program raises some questions about what this plan is really about. As you see below "The plan calls for housing first". What exactly does that mean? Does that mean private donations will go towards developing housing? Since the United Way partnered with LeSar Development Consultants it seems to suggest just that: that they are interested in "developing housing" not finding existing housing to meet the demands. How does that work? The existing models for HUD housing and affordable housing are very troubling, particularly because developers are typically paid anywhere from 5 to 10 times more than they would get in the private market. That means tax dollars are directly going into their pockets in the form of profits.

If that same model is now going to be used by non-profits like the United Way to work with developers like Jennifer LeSar whose wife former Council member Toni Atkins is Chair of the Select Committee On Homelessness for the State of California then we are going to see non-profits used as ATMs for developers.

Catherine Austin Fitts headed the HUD program under Bush 41 and came out as a whistleblower exposing how the low-income housing programs were enormous cesspools for fraud and simply ways for governments and politicians to give money to their friends. She insists nothing has changed. If you have a chance to listen to her please do because her comprehension of this problem is astounding and it reveals why I am so concerned about this topic.

Anyway, this is how the United Way describes PTECH:

Program: The Plan to End Chronic Homelessness Budget:--Category:Population Served:Program Description:

The 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness (PTECH) in the San Diego Region made significant strides this past year. Most recently, we launched a public awareness campaign called “Home Again” to engage the entire community in solving one of our most troubling issues. The 10-Year plan is multifaceted in reducing and preventing homelessness:

How it works:

• The plan calls for housing first, followed by supportive services. Includes permanent supportive housing units, a Regional Access Center in East County and 32 recuperative care units for the medically fragile. These units are the first of their kind in the County and offer short-term housing, meals, medical services, case management and social services for chronically homeless people while they recover from acute illnesses. After being in a recuperative care unit, clients receive services to help end their cycle of homelessness.

Program Long-Term Success:

End chronic homelessness in San Diego County through programs that promote and measure behavior change, policy change, and community engagement.

Program Short-Term Success:

By year-end, 400 chronically homeless individuals will be served through the Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, which provide permanent supportive housing, recuperative care, and regional access center services.

Program Success Monitored by:

Funded agencies report data quarterly showing the number of people placed in permanent supportive housing units, the types of support services they are accessing, the frequency in which they access these support services, and the amount of time they remain in stable housing.

Program Success Examples:

To date, 18 individuals have moved to more permanent housing situations

One of my big issues is how they are approaching the problem of homelessness. Their big concern is "housing". But if you talk with homeless people they do not want to be wharehoused in some shelter where they will be closely monitored. Yes they want a warm safe place to sleep, but they want their autonomy. Simply building "housing" will never solve the problem even with all the resources in the world on site. The fact that the focus is on building housing is highly suspect because resources would be better focused on supplying them with places to shower and store their stuff. You could serve exponentially more people by creating a facility filled with showers and small storage facilities. Then the additional money could be used to make sure they have food and blankets. They need tools to solve their problems and they need to keep their autonomy and anonymity.

The fact that the United Way is now singing the refrain about "housing first" is very troubling to say the least. It suggests to me that they are more interested in helping partner corporations make profits then they are in helping people. As I said above Toni Atkins Heads a Committee on Homelessness with the state and in the wake of very deep budget cuts to education and other services I am worried that ensuring state money can get to people like her spouse in these sham solutions will be her priority.

Here is the quote from Toni Atkins website about how she intends to end homelessness:

"Reducing homelessness requires a delicate interplay of programs and services for those without permanent shelter and those at risk of becoming homeless. This committee will work to eliminate silos and bring down barriers between agencies and branches of government. Ultimately, our committee will guide the state in more effectively and efficiently coordinating service delivery.”"

Essentially Toni will work to eliminate "barriers" and enable developers like her wife to easily access state tax dollars to provide their solutions to this complex problem.

Their is a very dangerous framework developing here that has blurred the barriers between public/private and non-profit. The ambiguity of how each role is defined creates enormous impetus to misappropriate funds intended to help people and solve real problems to for-profit businesses.

Comments

learnb4ugive June 18, 2011 @ 7:23 a.m.

If you want to follow their progress you can go to:

100,000 Homes National Campaign - Downtown San Diego on facebook

For info on the organization that started this model go to:

www.commonground.org

You will at least see what they are doing and how it has been successful elsewhere.

Also you mentioned storage and showers as the best solution. This is a good idea for temporary solutions to the basic needs part of this. You will be happy to know that a group is doing the storage part and would like to add other services. They do this at a very low cost and I think you will be impressed. Check them out at:

The Water Man Fan Page on facebook or helpthewaterman.com

I understand your issues with the funding and conflicts that go on and that this does not address that but you will be able to be better informed about the programs and where the money is going and who it is coming from. Plus you keep mentioning that this $469k went to LeSar for the Registry Week. I believe that is for them putting together the whole project that is for a much longer period of time. Part of that is for them to coordinate all the different government agencies that are participating in this program. Probably not an easy achievement to get everybody on the same page. I hope this helps a little and I look forward to reading more on what you find out.

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historymatters June 19, 2011 @ 10:49 p.m.

the 469 for Lesar is very troubling. I worked in the field of forensic architecture for 7 years dealing w/ lawyers and BS invoices and the language she is using to describe her work is total BS. I know what she is doing. She is essentially copying and pasting the study she did for downtown LA on homelessness and using that for SD. She has developed this template that she can use for any city. She gets the volunteers to collect all the data...which is where all the work is and then has volunteers enter the data into a database and then compiles all that free labor into a report.

In my experience in forensics we would have huge databases w/ 6000 entries. (and its similar because we were the architectural experts in litigation cases where we would also compile reports). All the work was in gathering the data and entering the data and LeSar has volunteers doing all that. The report is easy. The database software practically does the report for you especially since she has already done it.

And if what she is doing is so challenging it just means we need to fire the people on the housing commission and hire new qualified people because this is THEIR job. I suspect this was just a sneaky way to get HUGE illegal campaign contributions for Atkins for Assembly from Redevelopment developers and places like CCDC that need the gravy train to continue.

And if LeSar is such an expert and so good at what she does she would be able to point to some successes. She wont tell you WHAT her 3 billion dollars worth of projects were.

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kellydavis June 20, 2011 @ 11:14 a.m.

The inaccuracies in your post and follow-up comment are rather stunning. You're spouting off opinion with nothing to support it, starting with the fact that you seem not to understand what "housing first" means. It's a nationwide model for helping chronically homeless people off the street and into housing that's coupled with supportive services. From the National Alliance to End Homelessness: "Housing First is an approach that centers on providing homeless people with housing quickly and then providing services as needed."

http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/article/detail/1425

This isn't new housing; for the most part, it's rental housing that accepts Section 8 vouchers. No one's being "warehoused" and no one's getting rich off of building supportive housing in San Diego. I urge you to dig into the financing plans for these projects before you assume that there's extra money flying around. That's simply not the case. Start by taking a look at the Connections Housing project.

Lastly, Atkins voted to support the bill that would end redevelopment. There's not one shred of evidence to support your theory that her only goal is to enrich her wife.

Kelly Davis Associate Editor San Diego CityBeat

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 27, 2011 @ 10:28 p.m.

No one's being "warehoused" and no one's getting rich off of building supportive housing in San Diego. == Kelly, if you think no one is getting rich off of subsidized housing in San Diego and CA you are off your rocker. Gov programs are as inefficient as they come.

I was a commercial real estate broker for years, and the fraud and ROI on government subsidized housing is a JOKE! When bank owned apartments were selling for $5K-$15K per unit, needing rehab costs of $1K-$10K per unit in the early 1990's one of my fellow brokers was building San Diego City and County low income and subsidized housing at $130K-$150K per unit. The incompetence was amazing, and I have seen the same incompetence over and over and over again in just about every area of government.

As for the United Way, is this the same United Way that hired former San Diego police chief and current San Diego Mayor as CEO for $200K+ in compensation?????? Tell me what KFC Sanders qualifications were for heading the United Way coming from a police department??? Where there are no profit and loss responsibilities......

These government programs may mean well and have good intentions, but the cost to run them- the ROI, which is the bottom lien- vs the benefit they return is so out of whack it makes a person living in the real world want to can all of it.

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dwbat Nov. 28, 2011 @ 8:33 a.m.

The total development cost for the under-construction Florida Street low-income apartments in North Park (www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2011/aug/...) is $31 million, for 83 apartments. Do the math for the cost per unit. It's eye-opening.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 28, 2011 @ 10:05 a.m.

Yep, the ROI on these deals are ridiculous.

I am not opposed to gov trying to help people, but not at these kinds of costs.

The CA Unemployment Department spends 80 cents out of every dollar on administrative costs to run the program. 80% goes to the gov to run the thing while only 20% goes to the out of work citizen. That is not smart and this is typical of gov.

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historymatters Nov. 27, 2011 @ 7:30 p.m.

Kelly, you are the 1 that needs to research. You dont even know that these projects w/ the city for the most part organized as delaware Corporations. delaware corps are legal means of money laundering.

Even if some money may go to section 8, you KNOW alot of this money is going to build new housing. Even if nothing is on the books now, it soon will be. yes people are getting rich. LeSar should have never been paid half a mill to do a job the housing commission is paid to do. You need to do better research. You are losing all credibility. Watch the video from Catherine Austin Fitts. I suspect she knows alot more than you do.

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historymatters Nov. 27, 2011 @ 7:33 p.m.

as for your comment that they are not building new housing. You are really uninformed. how about this 70 million dollar boondoggle being built downtown.

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/New-Homeless-Housing-Planned-94291379.html

do your research and look at the money. You are supposed to be a reporter.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 27, 2011 @ 10:33 p.m.

how about this 70 million dollar boondoggle being built downtown.

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/New-Homeless-Housing-Planned-94291379.html

== $70 MILLION!

It is 12 stories and has a child care center, but once again, the overall cost vs the benefit is the key to look at.

The numbers never pencil out with gov projects, never even close.

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historymatters Nov. 27, 2011 @ 8:24 p.m.

also I find it interesting that you are stunned by the "inaccuracy" of my blog yet your newest article in CityBeat on Homelessness indicates the program I am writing about has led to this new plan to add over 100 new units of development per year. Looks like you are the 1 that needs to catch up to me Kelly. Yes it was ALWAYS about developing new housing not mere vouchers.

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