Vista CA— Due to federal and state law changes that require compliance with new homeless regulations, Solutions for Change will no longer remain eligible for funding for its emergency family shelter that has served the northern San Diego region since 2000. The shelter has 14 homeless families with 24 children and a waiting list of over 240 families.
New federal regulations require nonprofits like Solutions for Change to abandon their drug free housing protocol, make all of their work training programs optional and use taxpayer subsidies to pay rent. In March 2016 Solutions took a stand against complying with these new rules and had to return $95,000 in federal funds to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This latest loss represents an additional $90,000. The impact means Solutions will close its shelter effective mid-August 2016.
The family shelter is the organization’s 90-day crisis intervention program that brings in families with children directly from the streets. The program acts as a regional first step for families throughout northern San Diego by providing safe shelter, food and supportive services. Families then quickly move, usually within 90 days, into longer term programs. One of those programs is the Solutions University, where parents are equipped with the skills, knowledge and resources needed to address the root causes of poverty, break free of dependency, find employment and position themselves to permanently solve their homelessness.
“We cannot in good conscience allow active meth and heroin users into our programs to live side-by-side with families committed to a clean and sober life style,” said Chris Megison, president and CEO of Solutions for Change. We must focus first on the safety and well-being of our families and assuring a healthy lifestyle that solves homelessness.”
Megison noted that approximately nine percent of Solutions for Change’s annual budget comes from the government, and that these funds are largely directed into the more intensive service areas of Solution’s program. “What’s critical to recognize,” he said, “is that the foundational work we do with families is up front. For every $1 that we received in government operating funds in 2015 we reduced the welfare rolls by $10. Since our inception in 1999 we estimate that we have reduced welfare costs by over $44 million and generated an additional $80 million into the local economy in earned employment revenue.”
Solutions for Change developed its model based on drug free housing and employment retraining and job placement programs. Its goal has always been to equip and inspire people to break free of dependency. “Since our inception, we have helped more than 840 families and 2,000 children. With the closing of the family program, 40 homeless kids and their parents will be back on the streets.”
David Crean, Chairman of the Board, noted that the Solutions for Change Board of Directors has deemed compliance with new federal regulations incongruent with the organizations core values and, if adopted, would significantly and negatively impact its mission. He stated that Solution’s family shelter program would lose about $90,000 in funding, and the organization would incur a $506,127 loss due to Housing First regulations compared to 2015.
About Solutions for Change
Solutions for Change is a nationally recognized and award winning social sector innovator. After abandoning the outdated shelter/services containment approach the organization pioneered the nation’s first leadership development academy for the homeless. This 1000 day intensive educational and employment retraining model takes dependent families in the deepest of poverty in America and solves their homelessness permanently. The effort has created generational transformation for over 2000 children in 800 families since 1999. Combined with its trailblazing social enterprises; a state of the art commercial aquaponics farm and its affordable housing developments, Solutions for Change has redesigned and reimagined what is possible for any community, anywhere