Touts efforts to address COVID-19, homelessness, among other issues
WITH Saturday, March 20 marking his 100th day in office, Mayor Todd Gloria reflected on the major steps taken to improve the lives of San Diego residents in every neighborhood through his efforts to create a more equitable city government that tackles major issues head on.
Some of the highlights of the last 98 days include helping underserved neighborhoods get access to the COVID-19 vaccine, ushering in a new era of compassionate solutions for people experiencing homelessness, providing aid to people and businesses struggling from the pandemic, making progress on the City’s climate action goals, and diversifying City staff as well as the City’s volunteer boards and commissions.
“We’ve made progress during my first hundred days, but this is just the beginning,” Mayor Gloria said. “We have a lot more to do to make housing more affordable for working families, implement strategies to end chronic homelessness, repair our crumbling infrastructure and get San Diego back to work. I’m proud of the collaborative efforts with the City Council, regional partners and most importantly, the greater San Diego community. Together, we can create a San Diego that works for all of us.”
Mayor Gloria assumed office as COVID-19 infections and deaths climbed. He took swift action to save lives, protect struggling renters and businesses, and work with the County of San Diego and other regional partners to stand up vaccination centers. As cases surged, he issued an executive order to encourage businesses to follow public health orders. He followed that executive order with another that capped the fees third-party delivery companies could charge San Diego businesses.
More than 220 Fire-Rescue personnel have been trained as vaccinators and have provided thousands of vaccines to San Diegans. The city also set up single-day vaccination sites at Malcolm X Library and Montgomery High School – both in traditionally underserved neighborhoods when vaccine supplies were available.
He has also advocated to the State and Federal governments to provide rent relief, the housing stability assistance program and more than $300 million as a part of President Joseph Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
Homelessness has been a long-standing priority for Mayor Gloria, which is why he pledged on his first day in office to move swiftly and decisively to protect the most vulnerable San Diegans. He took immediate steps to extend Operation Shelter to Home, the emergency shelter set up at the San Diego Convention Center to provide a safe and sanitary environment for hundreds of people experiencing homelessness.
The collaborative effort between the City of San Diego, County of San Diego, Regional Task Force on the Homeless, San Diego Housing Commission and Convention Center has served more than 4,000 individuals and helped nearly 1,300 individuals and 43 families find permanent or longer-term housing. He is following through on his pledge to wind down the operation this month and is working with partners to ensure that all people sheltering in the Convention Center will be safely relocated to housing or another location in the City shelter system.
In February, Mayor Gloria announced new funding for shelter and services for transition-age San Diegans.
Last week, he announced a major shift to outreach in the City of San Diego that employs a neighborhood-based, person-centered approach to meeting the unique needs of San Diego’s unsheltered population. It’s aligned with the principles of the successful housing-first strategy to ending chronic homelessness.
He also directed staff to more humanely clean up City streets by ending abatements at night and during inclement weather.
One of Mayor Gloria’s first actions after assuming office was to make changes to the City’s leadership structure that netted $1.2 million in annual savings, streamlined city operations and promoted diversity in the management of the organization.
Some of his earliest appointees included the City’s first Chief Innovation Officer Kirby Brady and Afghani immigrant Farhat Popal as the City’s new Immigrant Affairs Manager.
He also began the recruitment efforts for the City’s new Office of Race and Equity to ensure that equity and racial justice are priorities in everything the City does.
Mayor Gloria is committed to increasing representation across the City’s volunteer boards and commissions. In his first 100 days, he has made a concerted effort to fill dozens of open positions with a diverse group of people from across the City to ensure that community voices are heard.
He has also created the Black Advisory Group, which is the first of several community advisory groups his administration plans to establish.
Earlier this month, Mayor Gloria released the City’s first pay equity study, which was one of the first of its kind to be made public by a municipality.
In his first 100 days, Mayor Gloria has attended dozens of community meetings and held town halls to hear from residents directly.