County Integrates HHSA, Housing Department

County of San Diego officials announced a significant organizational change to fully integrate health, human services and housing. 

The change will move the Housing and Community Development department into the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), which will further support the County’s efforts to address the needs of vulnerable residents, particularly homeless people with severe mental illnesses.

The change comes in response to direction earlier this year from the Board of Supervisors, led by Chairman Ron Roberts and Supervisor Greg Cox, to build a better service delivery system, particularly in light of the needs of homeless individuals experiencing serious mental illness.

“Housing is an essential component to achieving overall health and wellness,” Roberts said. “Integrating health, housing and human services is the vision of Project One for All – to leverage resources more effectively to better serve those who are living on our streets and drive better outcomes for our communities.” 

Project One for All was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in January and is intended to provide homeless people who have serious mental illness with access to a broad spectrum of services, including housing and health care. Cox said the integration of Housing and Community Development into HHSA is a logical shift, form following function.

“This change will connect the dots, making it more efficient to provide intensive, wraparound services for our most vulnerable residents,” Cox said. 

The realignment of services will better enable the County to take a more comprehensive, “whole-person” approach to delivering services, one of the goals of the County’s Live Well San Diego vision for healthy, safe and thriving communities.

“People thrive when they have a safe place to live and the services they need to be healthy,” said County Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer. “Having Housing and Community Development join the Health and Human Services Agency will strengthen our services and help make that vision a reality.”

HHSA, which has an annual operating of budget of $1.8 billion and more than 6,000 employees, provides an array of services, including nutrition assistance, Medicaid, public health services, mental health and substance abuse programs, protective services and programs to strengthen families.  Annually HHSA serves over 1 million San Diegans.

“This is a logical step to bring our service delivery in line with our vision and direction from the Board of Supervisors,” said HHSA Director Nick Macchione. “Together with our community partners and HHSA staff, we are committed to continuously looking at how to maximize the services we deliver to help people live well, and this change supports that commitment.”

David Estrella, who previously served as the General Manager for the County’s Community Services Group, has been appointed Director of Integrative Services. In this role he will oversee the County’s efforts to integrate health, housing and human services. 

Housing and Community Development, which also acts as the Housing Authority for the County of San Diego, has nearly 100 employees and an annual budget of $138 million. The department provides housing assistance and community improvements that benefit low- and moderate-income persons. It also manages programs under the Housing Authority, including housing choice vouchers, tenant-based rental assistance, project-based vouchers and Housing Authority public housing programs. The department’s shift to the Health and Human Services Agency will be effective July 1, 2016, the start of the new fiscal year.

Craig Sturak is a group communications officer with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact