Posted: January 15, 2019 San Diego receives more state funds to reduce homelessness January 15, 2019 Updated: 10:25 PM Sasha Foo, Sasha Foo Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego and San Diego County are receiving tens of millions of dollars to provide emergency help and programs for those who are homeless.According to the latest count, there are more than 8,500 people without permanent housing in San Diego County.As the largest city in the county, San Diego has been sinking more money over the last year into homeless shelters and services.The city now has three large bridge shelters in operation, which are taking 700 men, women and children off the streets every night.In the last 15 months, the city has teamed up with the non-profit group, Jewish Family Service to open up two parking lots in Kearny Mesa as a safe space for San Diegans who use their cars as shelter.Last summer, the city opened up a storage center in Sherman Heights so that people who live on the street would have a place to hold their possessions.All of these programs and facilities cost money. The State of California is now providing a large chunk of that funding. “The good news is the State is stepping up to the plate,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faluconer.The City of San Diego is receiving $14 million from the state’s HEAP program which is short for Homeless Emergency Aid Program.The Regional Task Force on the Homeless is picking up $18.8 million from the same state fund.Both of these monies are one time awards, and must be spent over the next two years.There’s a third source of funding that just became available, thanks to a Senate bill authored by State Senator Toni Atkins. $2.5 million is coming to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless with a requirement to spend the money in five years.Altogether, the three grants total just over $35 million for the region.The head of the Alpha Project, Bob McElroy said the greatest need is for shelter facilities. McElroy, whose group runs one of the city’s three bridge tents said more than 30% of the people who stayed in the Alpha Project tent over the last year were able to transition to longer term or more permanent housing. He scoffed at critics who said the number of people who find permanent housing should be much higher.The longtime homeless service provider said raising those numbers will be impossible unless more low income housing units are built. “We’re short 17,000 units of new low income housing every year in San Diego. That’s from the Housing Commission. Are we going to get there anytime soon? I don’t see it. But in the meantime, we should at least have a safe place for people to go,” McElroy said.