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San Diego Official Wants Government Out of Homeless Services

A San Diego official named Eric Dargan wants the government to be out of homeless services and strive to eliminate homelessness.

March 31, 2024

Eric Dargan flagged several issues when he took over as San Diego’s Chief Operating Officer.

He thought his priorities to be crumbling infrastructure, aging fire facilities, and police recruitment. But then he asked residents about their major worries.

And surprisingly, nine out of ten people would tell him “Homelessness”. He also said in an interview that if homelessness is the number one concern of people, then it should be the number one concern of him too.

Dargan is figuring out how to reshape how the government responds to the growing housing crisis inspired by what he witnessed when he used to run the public works department in Houston.

Dargan wants less bureaucracy and more philanthropy.

Dargan believes that the $78 Million spent on homelessness should be spent on stormwater, streets, facilities, and public safety.

The city created a homelessness strategies and solutions department in 2021 to take an active role in hiring service providers due to which, the office has grown to encompass more than a dozen positions along with securing tens of Millions of dollars in state grants. The fiscal year budget for 2024 was around $44 Million.

Dargan said, “My plan is to eliminate my homeless department altogether. But the only way I can do that is if this community, the city of San Diego as a community, comes together and says, ‘We’re gonna take over this fight.”.

San Diego Foundation released data revealing that donations to housing and shelter causes are increasing as many business organizations are making homelessness a priority. Not only this, but a range of religious groups have also offered space for shelter.

But Dargan wants to contribute to every resident’s needs. He feels that companies need to flag employees who are at risk of losing housing. He also urges local churches to launch food pantries.

The first step towards this is “San Diegans Together Tackling Homelessness”. It is a fundraising effort announced by Mayor Todd Gloria in January that has the goal of raising $370 Million, out of which, much will go towards affordable housing complex downtown.

It depends on Dargan’s discretion to decide how these funds will be distributed along with input from the 10-member advisory board. So far, only four people have agreed to join.

Dargan is on the lookout for some Billionaires who would like to leave their legacy in this city. He finds himself good enough if he can get 1.4 Million people to give him $300 each.

One of the region’s most prominent philanthropic groups is The Lucky Duck Foundation. Its CEO Drew Moser always welcomed cost-effective methods to reduce homelessness. Moser feels encouraged by seeing the city’s efforts to boost the city’s shelter capacity.

The federal data reveals that the city has witnessed a drop in its overall homeless population by about half in the past decade.

Dargan noted that Texas has cheaper housing, more land, and fewer building regulations. But praises Houston for supplementing federal funding with local donations and minimizing government oversight.

The coalition’s president and CEO Kelly Young said, “We are city poor. All of the agencies become responsible for raising the money to run their organizations through philanthropy.”

The coalition also places homeless people in specific programs. The city has a central system in place to track both open beds and how well service groups are doing their jobs.

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The content provided in this article draws inspiration and includes quotes from various reputable sources, including news articles, government data, and interviews. Affordable Housing 411 strives to ensure accuracy and credibility, but the information presented may be based on some external sources. We encourage readers to refer to the referenced materials for more in-depth insights and verification.

Nelson Blake. “A top San Diego official largely wants government out of homeless services. Here’s what he hopes comes next”. The San Diego Union Tribune, March 31, 2024,
A top San Diego official largely wants government out of homeless services. Here’s what he hopes comes next. – The San Diego Union-Tribune (

Last Updated: September 20, 2021