By Robin Madaffer, and Kris Michell, Downtown San Diego Partnership
The Downtown San Diego Partnership, a 501(c)6 nonprofit, is the leading advocate for the revitalization, economic growth, and branding of San Diego’s Downtown community. In addition, the Partnership manages the Clean & Safe program, which provides maintenance and safety patrols for Downtown neighborhoods.
The Downtown San Diego Partnership is glad to also be included in the conversation to end homelessness in San Diego. As we continue to work toward the goal of ending homelessness, it’s important to remember that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution.
There are several programs and organizations that are providing positive results for ending homelessness in San Diego—one person at a time. Among these are the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s “Movin’ Home” and “Work Your Way Home” programs.
Not every individual chooses to be homeless. Due to the downturn in the economy, many homeless individuals and families in San Diego turn to the streets and shelters because it’s their only option. As we work to provide more jobs and more educational opportunities for San Diegans, we are also working on solutions to get those displaced back on their feet.
Nearly one year ago, the Downtown San Diego Partnership launched a new program designed to discourage panhandling by providing the public an opportunity to donate directly to programs and services to end homelessness. A total of nine red meters, also known as ‘donation stations,’ were placed throughout the neighborhoods of Downtown, allowing the public to make donations directly to help fund move-in kits and vouchers for services as part of the Ending Homelessness Downtown Campaign.
In addition, we launched the Work Your Way Home program, providing people the opportunity to work with our Clean and Safe maintenance program in exchange for travel services back home to their loved ones.
To date, we have housed over 250 of the most vulnerable homeless individuals and reconnected 35 more with their families all over the country. Through these efforts, we are providing responsible solutions to those displaced, and in turn, reducing the need for panhandling on our streets.
Simultaneously, the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Clean and Safe program, in collaboration with our community partners, works 24/7 to keep our Downtown neighborhoods maintained and safe for all to enjoy—especially during the holiday season as residents and visitors shop, dine, and play.
Downtown San Diego is committed to working together to sustain a vibrant and world-class urban center. That is why the success of our common goal to end homelessness could not be possible without the partnerships which make up the Ending Leadership Homelessness Team and the residents, businesses, and organizations which make up Downtown.
We look forward to continuing these efforts with San Diego’s new mayor, Bob Filner, First Lady Bronwyn Ingram, and Downtown’s new representative, Council President Todd Gloria. We are also appreciative of the ongoing support and leadership of former Mayor Jerry Sanders and Council President Pro Tem Kevin Faulconer, who have both served as strong advocates for Downtown neighborhoods.
So the next time you see a red donation station while walking around Downtown, please feed the meter with the assurance that your donation will go directly to programs that will help put San Diego’s homeless into warm homes. With your generosity and through these partnerships, we will continue to make great strides in ending homelessness in San Diego.
Robin Madaffer is an executive committee member of the Downtown San Diego Partnership and co-chair of the Ending Homeless Leadership Team. Kris Michell is the CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, a leading advocate for the economic and revitalization of the Downtown neighborhood. To learn more about the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Clean and Safe program, please visit sdcleanandsafe.org.