July 20, 2016
In a critical breakthrough more than three years in the making, Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) announced today that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is considering four options to replace the Continuum of Care formula that determines how federal homelessness funding is allocated. A public comment period opening today and lasting 60 days will give service organizations, housing providers, and local leaders the opportunity to weigh in on the potential replacements for the existing, outdated formula that has severely disadvantaged cities like San Diego in their work to end homelessness.
The four replacement options take into account a number of indicators that better determine a city’s need for resources such as homeless population, poverty, and the availability and affordability of housing. HUD has also developed an interactive and comparative tool in order for stakeholders and the general public to analyze how each option affects a community's future funding.
“Helping the homeless is a challenge for San Diego and many other cities across the country,” Rep. Peters said. “I have been committed to fixing this broken formula to ensure that every community receives their fair share of resources to get people off of the streets and into permanent housing. I thank Secretary Castro and his staff for hearing our concerns, visiting San Diego, and putting forward these options to find a more equitable way to distribute federal homelessness resources. Now it is time for San Diego to make the best possible case for the solution that best serves our region’s work to end homelessness.”
Congressman Peters first contacted HUD about the formula in March of 2013 after a report found that in 2012, despite having the third largest homeless population in the country, San Diego received the 18th highest level of federal homelessness funding. In the more than three years since, Rep. Peters has worked with HUD Secretary Julián Castro, former HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and staff from HUD and the Department of Veterans Affairs on opening a public comment period on the existing formula. Last month Rep. Peters praised HUD’s plan to go beyond that request and seek input on specific replacements, a process which begins today.
"Every person deserves a safe, stable place to call home,” said Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro. “In high-cost cities like San Diego, that is an urgent challenge in this time of limited resources. That's why we're working to improve our funding formula to better target the root causes of homelessness. I thank Congressman Peters for his leadership on this issue and continued partnership as we work to finally end homelessness."
“HUD’s commitment to reevaluate the decades old formula for distribution of federal funding for homelessness is a critical step for the City of San Diego in our fight to end homelessness by making vital funding available to provide the housing and services necessary to reach our goal,” said Councilmember Todd Gloria, Chair of the Regional Continuum of Care Council, which directs federal funding for the region’s homeless programs. “I commend Congressman Scott Peters for his extraordinary advocacy in making sure San Diego gets its fair share of federal funds for homelessness programs and appreciate Secretary Julian Castro’s leadership.”
In anticipation of the comment period reopening, Rep. Peters and his staff have worked with San Diego’s service organizations, housing providers, and local leaders to educate the community on the federal funding formula and the importance of collaborative input. Rep. Peters is now calling on them to make the best possible case for the solution that best serves our region’s work to end homelessness.
Timeline of Congressman Peters’ advocacy to change the funding formula:
- March 2013: Sent a letter to then-HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan advocating for an update to the Continuum of Care funding formula
- November 2013: Sent letter with Representatives Vargas (CA-51) and Davis (CA-53) asking for a comment period to make revisions to the funding formula
- September 2014: Sent letter to HUD Secretary Castro advocating for a funding formula update
- January 2015: Met, and advocated for an update to the funding formula, with Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs Chris O’Connor when Assistant Secretary O’Connor was in San Diego for the annual WeAllCount
- February 2015: Call with officials from HUD and the Department of Veterans Affairs to discuss ending veterans homelessness and revising the outdated federal funding formula
- May 2015: Met with Secretary Castro on Capitol Hill to discuss the funding formula disparity and to advocate for an update, and the chance for San Diego input on the process
- June 2015: Had a call with Secretary Castro to continue advocating for an update to the funding formula
- October 2015: During a visit to San Diego, Secretary Castro announced his intention to reopen public comment on the funding formula
- February 2016: Sponsored an amendment to H.R. 3700 requiring the HUD Secretary to reopen the public comment period on the Continuum of Care funding formula.
- May 2016: Announced commitment from Secretary Castro to reopen public comment period on formula no later than June 21st.
- June 2016: Spoke with Secretary Castro about his plan to provide detailed approaches to replace the formula by mid-July.