Downtown News Briefs – March 2017

Posted: March 3rd, 2017 | Downtown Briefs, News, Opinion & News | No Comments


The city of San Diego recently announced the availability of $25 million to fund affordable housing projects. This Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) released by Civic San Diego (CivicSD) will allow projects that meet affordability requirements and development objectives to apply for funds in order to facilitate the development of affordable rental units for residents of San Diego.

The goal is to leverage the $25 million at below market interest rates, with other funding sources from public or private organizations, into several projects that demonstrate certain affordability and mixed income levels.

The $25 million will be funded from the Low and Moderate Income Housing Asset Fund in accordance with the city’s adopted Affordable Housing Master Plan. Qualified affordable housing developers meeting the NOFA qualifications and demonstrating the ability to design, build and manage affordable housing are encouraged to submit proposals.

The funds are part of the city’s overall approach to increasing affordable housing supply and providing permanent housing for the homeless and veterans as well. To read the full NOFA and obtain information to apply, visit


The San Diego County Bar Foundation awarded $110,000 from its 2016 Indigent Criminal Defense Fund to three San Diego nonprofits that offer legal defense programs for individuals and families.

The charitable arm of the San Diego County Bar Association, the Bar Foundation created its Indigent Criminal Defense Fund to further and support indigent criminal defense programs, projects and activities in San Diego County.

The Bar Foundation invests in legal assistance and advocacy for people and communities in the region impacted by poverty, abuse and discrimination.

California Veterans Legal Task Force received $30,000 to help veterans secure criminal defense assistance for charges they are facing, with the hope that they will receive mental health treatment rather than custody.

The program also provides legal students with hands-on experience providing legal assessments, experience with mental health issues and knowledge about veterans’ legal needs.

St. Vincent de Paul Village was awarded $30,000 to fully fund the Homeless Court Program, a special San Diego Superior Court session for homeless defendants to resolve outstanding misdemeanor offenses and warrants. The funds will support 100 percent of the program¹s case management, operation expenses and the salary of a Homeless Court Representative.

Think Dignity was awarded $50,000 to support The Homeless Youth Legal Advocacy Project, which works with homeless youths who have aged out of foster care, to reduce sentences and expunge and seal their juvenile records so the youths can seek employment with a clean record.

The Indigent Criminal Defense Fund is made possible by a grant from the San Diego County Bar Association through extra funds from its Private Conflict Counsel program. The San Diego County Bar Association is based Downtown at 401 West A St. For more information, visit


During a Feb. 22 press conference at Quartyard in East Village, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced that the city of San Diego is partnering with General Electric to upgrade city streetlights to reduce energy costs by 60 percent as well as transform them into a connected digital network that can optimize parking and traffic, enhance public safety and track air quality.

The deployment of 3,200 smart sensors will be the largest city-based deployment of an “Internet of Things” platform in the world, according to the Mayor’s Office. The nodes can use real-time anonymous sensor data to direct drivers to open parking spaces, help first responders during emergencies, track carbon emissions and identify intersections that can be improved for pedestrians and cyclists.

The city will replace 14,000 streetlights with more energy efficient versions, which will reduce energy costs by $2.4 million annually. These streetlights include technology that allows for dimming and brightening in public venues manually or automatically, depending on natural light conditions.


St. Paul’s Senior Services was awarded the Eli Pick Facility National Leadership Award from the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA). The award is based on data-driven criteria used to identify high-performing nursing facilities. Last year, only 284 of the nation¹s 15,600 facilities received this honor.

The Facility Leadership Award was introduced by one of ACHCA’s most revered leaders, the late Eli Pick, in 2008. Pick worked with colleague John Sheridan of eHealth Data Solutions, to develop an awards program that uses data-driven criteria to objectively identify high-performing skilled nursing facilities and the leaders who make them excel.

Today, Eli Pick Facility Leadership Award recipients are identified using publicly collected data by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which is pulled and evaluated by an independent third party.

St. Paul’s Senior Homes & Services is a full service retirement provider, offering independent, assisted living, and skilled nursing communities, child and senior day care programs and a program of all-inclusive care for the elderly.

St. Paul’s has three facilities, all located Downtown just east of Balboa Park. For more information, visit


In the spirit of continuing to identify community programs and services that help spur economic and community activities within low- to moderate-income communities, the Civic San Diego (CivicSD) board authorized its staff to establish a Fiscal Sponsorship Program.

Serving as a “Fiscal Sponsor” will allow CivicSD to leverage its 501(c)(3) status to accept grants and steward funds on behalf of organizations that support community reinvestment activities. These activities will improve the living conditions of disadvantaged or emerging neighborhoods that do not have nonprofit status.

This new philanthropic service offered by CivicSD would respond to the needs of a variety of community-driven organizations that lack the tax status required to receive grants from private foundations, government agencies and philanthropists, and position CivicSD to help the philanthropic community’s ability to support activities involving workforce development, small business success, affordable housing and environmental sustainability. For more information, visit


USO San Diego has dedicated a prestigious STAR award to “Papa Doug” and Geniya Manchester in recognition of their patriotism and philanthropy in support of the U.S. Military and USO San Diego.

The STAR plaque will hold a permanent place on the patio wall of USO Neil Ash Airport Center at San Diego International Airport. The center is a modern airport lounge catering to traveling military service members and their families.

Doug Manchester is a long-time champion of the U.S. military. In 2004, he went to Iraq to demonstrate his support for the military by connecting troops with their families during the holidays so that they could speak to one another. Last year, he served as the Presenting Title Sponsor for USO San Diego’s 75th Anniversary Stars and Stripes Gala.


A record 35 million people visited San Diego last year, according to the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA), the private nonprofit responsible for attracting visitors to the region.

In addition to the record number of visitors, the amount of spending by visitors also hit an all-time high in 2016, reaching $10.4 billion. Major events such as the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the AMGEN Tour of California and Comic-Con International helped fuel growth in 2016.

In fiscal year 2016, a record $267 million in hotel tax revenue was collected by local governments, which will help fund city services such as police and fire-fighting programs, and street repairs.

To continue building on 2016’s growth, the SDTA launched a $12.4 million advertising campaign in January, which includes television, print and digital advertising. The campaign features the Happiness is Calling “Signs” video ad, with new spots including updated footage and a new song.

The television ads will air in six markets including San Francisco, Sacramento, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago and New York City. San Diego’s brand will also be seen on the pages of Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit, and other magazines, as well as on travel websites such as TripAdvisor, Expedia and Priceline.

In partnership with Brand USA, the SDTA is also running digital advertising in Canada and the United Kingdom.

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