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Housing First – San Diego


SDHC’s Homelessness Action Plan

(619) 578-7768


The San Diego Housing Commission’s (SDHC) homelessness action plan, HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, is an effective, diverse funding and housing strategy that has created thousands of housing opportunities for individuals and families experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness in the City of San Diego.

HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO 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.

More than 11,700 housing solutions created

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Housing Instability Prevention Program

The Housing Instability Prevention Program (HIPP) helps pay rent and other housing-related expenses for families in the City of San Diego with low income, experiencing a housing crisis and at risk of homelessness. The San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) operates HIPP for the City of San Diego with funding the San Diego City Council allocated specifically for the creation and continuation of this program.

Funding is limited. HIPP currently can assist approximately 300 households. For eligibility information, please see the program flyer (link below).

SDHC will identify potential participants from referrals from 2-1-1 San Diego. Housing Specialists will contact those households to confirm and verify if they qualify for help.

SDHC provides enrolled households with $250, $500 or $750 per month toward their rent, depending on the household’s circumstances. HIPP also provides case management and assists with housing-related expenses, such as past-due rent and past-due utilities, depending on the household’s need. These payments are made directly to the landlord or utility company. Enrolled households receive assistance for up to 24 months.

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Seniors Safe at Home

Announced on September 29, 2023, the Seniors Safe at Home program provides time-limited case management and a specified rental assistance amount per month for seniors aged 55 and older with low income, experiencing a housing crisis, and at risk of homelessness. This is a collaboration among SDHC, Serving Seniors and The Lucky Duck Foundation, which invested $500,000 in philanthropic funds for the program. Referrals to the program are made through Serving Seniors.

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Homelessness Prevention & Diversion

Homelessness Prevention helps families at risk of homelessness to remain permanently housed.

Diversion assists newly homeless families to identify alternative permanent housing or necessary support to stay out of the shelter system.

Prevention & Diversion assistance may include:

  • Housing location
  • Security deposit assistance
  • Temporary rental assistance (including rent arrears)
  • Short-term case management
  • Application fees
  • Utility deposits and payments

In addition, SDHC funds the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Family Reunification Program, which reconnects individuals and families living on the streets or in emergency shelters with family or other support systems through relocation assistance and follow-up services.


SDHC Moving Home Rapid Rehousing

SDHC Moving Home Rapid Rehousing helps individuals and families experiencing homelessness to quickly obtain and maintain permanent housing through a tailored package of assistance that can include rental assistance and case management. SDHC has committed 50 rental housing units that it owns, annually, to provide housing through the Moving Home program.


A Moving Home Story

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Landlord Engagement & Assistance Program (LEAP)

The Landlord Engagement and Assistance Program (LEAP) provides incentives and benefits to landlords who rent to San Diegans experiencing homelessness, as well as housing location and financial assistance for tenants to pay security deposits and application fees.

Incentives for landlords include:

  • $500 for the first unit landlords rent to a homeless household and $250 for each additional unit
  • Up to two times the contract rent in security deposits and an average of $100 in utility assistance per household
  • A contingency fund to help landlords cover expenses, such as repairs that exceed security deposits
  • Dedicated San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) housing specialists to answer landlords’ questions

LEAP Video

A Landlord Story

New Permanent Supportive Housing

SDHC committed up to $50 million over three fiscal years through HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO to create new permanent supportive housing for San Diegans experiencing homelessness.

Permanent supportive housing is rental housing that is affordable for low-income households and includes access to voluntary supportive services.

SDHC has awarded $46.9 million toward the creation of 850 permanent supportive housing units through this program.

A Grand Opening Story

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SDHC Moving On Rental Assistance

SDHC partners with the County of San Diego Behavioral Health Services Division to provide rental assistance to individuals who previously experienced homelessness who are ready to transition out of permanent supportive housing, but continue to need rental assistance.


A Moving On Story

Multidisciplinary Outreach

SDHC launched the Multidisciplinary Outreach Team in 2022 with funding the San Diego City Council allocated specifically for that purpose. SDHC contracts with People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) San Diego to operate the program. PATH subcontracts with Father Joe’s Villages for a healthcare component of the program. The Multidisciplinary Outreach Program serves individuals and families who are among the most vulnerable people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in the City. The program focuses on people experiencing unsheltered homelessness who are among the highest utilizers of the criminal justice, emergency services or homelessness services systems. Many are chronically homeless, living with untreated medical and behavioral health conditions and have not been stably housed in years despite attempts by other programs to serve them. Outreach to these individuals requires more time and attention than other programs. The State of California’s 2023-2024 budget allocated $750,000 to support this program, which State Assemblymember Brian Maienschein had advocated.


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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Mainstream Vouchers

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded HUD Mainstream Vouchers to SDHC, effective November 1, 2018, to provide rental assistance to families experiencing homelessness that include a non-elderly person with a disability between the ages of 18 and 61.



The programs of the first three years of HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, which was launched on November 12, 2014, created more than 2,700 housing solutions for San Diegans experiencing homelessness—Veterans, families and individuals in the City of San Diego—which far exceeds the initial goal of 1,500 San Diegans experiencing homelessness:

  • Award Development Funds – Up to $30 Million ($10 million per year): Awarded $28.9 million toward the creation of 382 permanent supportive housing units.
  • Commit up to 1,500 Federal Rental Housing Vouchers: Committed 1,980 rental housing vouchers to nonprofit agencies and affordable housing developments to assist homeless San Diegans.
  • Renovate Hotel Churchill: Created 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. Click here to watch a Monarch School Project story. Click here to watch a Monarch School Project story
  • Housing Our Heroes: Provide housing opportunities for 1,000 Veterans experiencing homelessness 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.


Data Collection & Privacy

SDHC’s HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO homeless service programs use Clarity to collect client-level data including but not limited to demographics, services, housing, assessments, employment, and income.  Clarity is the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) approved and managed by the Regional Task Force on Homelessness (RTFH) for the San Diego Continuum of Care (CoC). The HMIS may only be accessed by persons affiliated with organizations that have agreed to participate in HMIS and joined the HMIS Trust Network.

SDHC has adopted the RTFH HMIS Privacy and Security Policies for all homeless service programs:

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