Health

County Director Appointed to State Initiative on Homelessness

The director of the County Health and Human Services Agency’s Behavioral Health Services department has been appointed by Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. to the No Place Like Home advisory committee.

Alfredo Aguirre will serve as the behavioral health director representative of the $2 billion initiative, which aims to assist local communities in preventing and addressing homelessness.

“It is an honor to be given the opportunity to work on such an important initiative,” said Aguirre. “Having a stable place to live is an essential step in recovery from a serious mental illness, and supportive housing helps homeless people get and stay off the streets.”

Approved last year, No Place Like Home will establish a $2 billion bond funded by the Mental Health Service Act for construction and rehabilitation of permanent supportive housing for homeless people with serious mental illness.

The initiative takes a “housing first” approach, which has been used successfully in other states and is considered best practice by many homeless advocates and behavioral health experts.

No Place Like Home will provide local governments with additional resources and flexibility to better serve homeless individuals and families. It will also increase access to affordable housing and extend programs for homeless people who are either disabled or experiencing mental health challenges.

According to the San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless’ 2016 Point-in-Time Count, there were 8,692 homeless men, women and children in the San Diego region. It is estimated that about 14.4 percent of them suffer from mental illness.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact