SHIPWRECK: Chula Vista’s Failure to add much-needed shelter. In May of 2020, The City of Chula Vista publicly announced its plans to add a shelter by using one of the Lucky Duck Foundation’s sprung structures, which can urgently provide temporary housing for 150 to 200 people experiencing homelessness. Tragically, after taking possession of this very valuable asset, they stored the shelter for more than 14 months. Ultimately the City of Chula Vista changed its mind and decided it did not want a bridge shelter, effectively preventing hundreds if not thousands of individuals from benefiting from the shelter while it was in storage. It wasn’t until more than two years later that the City actually broke ground on its shelter site. While a bridge shelter could have provided nearly 200 beds nightly, the City indicates it will open 66 pallet homes in January of 2023. Although this will help, taking more than 2.5 years to add 66 pallet homes is nowhere near the urgency or speed required to meaningfully address the region’s homelessness crisis.
SHAMROCK: Work for Hope (WFH) is a partnership between the McAlister Institute, Chula Vista PoliceDepartment, and Chula Vista Public Works Department to help individuals experiencing homelessness secure employment and housing by offering on-the-job training and work-training stipends to beautify city parks. WFH also includes wraparound services and case management to help link participants to addiction treatment, housing, and other critical services. It is the only collaboration of its kind in the country that pairs a nonprofit organization with both law enforcement and public works to provide individuals trying to overcome homelessness and addiction with hands-on training in specialized, transferable employment skills that range from commercial painting to landscaping and carpentry. WFH’s work crews have beautified every single one of Chula Vista’s City Parks (72 in total), including restroom repainting, signage upgrades, gazebo restoration, picnic area revivals, and weed abatement. Demand for the program far outpaces available openings and in only four years since its launch, 168 individuals have participated in the program and 147 have achieved long-term housing and employment. We encourage other cities to take note of this lifesaving and lifechanging program and consider implementing similar programs and partnerships.
Recent news coverage of WFH: Amid fentanyl threat, San Diego man helps people get off the streets and drugs (Spectrum News)