County Extends Reunification Program for Homeless to East County

Point in Time Count
Volunteers from San Diego County interact with people sleeping on the streets. Photo credit: County News Center

San Diego County has launched a pilot program in East County that aims to reunite individuals or families that lack shelter with loved ones who can help.

The county is seeking referrals from local partners and community members for qualifying individuals trying to return to supportive relatives or others outside of the San Diego region.

Family reunification already is offered in Supervisor Nora Vargas’ district by the Downtown San Diego Partnership in the East Village. She joined in announcing the East County effort with fellow Supervisor Joel Anderson.

“I’m proud to lead the rest of the county in launching a pilot program to bring this lifesaving and cost-effective program to the second epicenter of homelessness, East County San Diego,” said Vargas, who also serves as chair of the Board of Supervisors.

Anderson said he is “excited to see the county add an additional tool to its tool belt.”

“Sometimes people are just down on their luck and need the assistance reuniting with their families elsewhere in the United States — these are the “low-lying fruits” when looking at how we can end homelessness in our region,” he said.

The county launched the pilot program with the goal of finding long-term housing solutions. Services may include case management, housing searches and financial support to remove barriers to family connections.

Currently, the program is open in East County unincorporated communities and the cities of La Mesa, Lemon Grove, El Cajon and Santee.