About two months after her shock announcement that she was leaving her place as head of San Diego’s efforts to unravel homelessness, Hafsa Kaka has began her new job as Gov. Gavin Newsom’s senior adviser on homelessness.
“You may think about what an incredible alternative that is to return my manner,” she mentioned.
Kaka (pronounced Kay-ka) was employed because the director of town of San Diego’s then-new Homelessness Methods and Options Division in August of 2021.
She got here to town with 15 years of expertise in social providers, psychological well being and homelessness, and her profession included jobs in Orange County and Los Angeles, the place her work generally took her to Skid Row.
Throughout her time in San Diego, town opened greater than 500 new shelter beds and shelters that for the primary time particularly served seniors and other people with psychological well being points and addictions. Town additionally opened extra shelter beds for girls and households, and it partnered with new service suppliers to give attention to particular populations of homeless folks.
Kaka mentioned her work increasing town’s partnerships was among the many issues that caught the eye of state officers who recruited her earlier this 12 months to fill a newly created place. She didn’t trace the place she was going after saying she was leaving in March, however did say she can be heard from once more doing comparable work.
She revealed her new job a few week in the past on her LinkedIn web page, the place she additionally posted a selfie with Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Explaining her new place, Kaka mentioned her job would take her throughout the state, both in individual or just about, to fulfill with numerous stakeholders.
“I’ll be working with native governments, counties, cities, continuums of care, public housing authorities and the enterprise group,” she mentioned. “Actually, all throughout California to implement finest practices. I’ll be offering total management and path to state businesses and departments on homelessness and dealing with our legislative companions as properly.”
Whereas she has an workplace in Sacramento, a lot of her work may be carried out remotely, and for now she nonetheless lives in San Diego with plans to later transfer to Orange County to be nearer along with her household.
Among the many modifications in San Diego’s approaches to homeless options over the previous two years, town now straight handles contracts with service suppliers, an motion that had gone via the San Diego Housing Fee. Kaka mentioned the change created larger transparency and knowledge retrieval.
Town additionally created eight new shelter initiatives previously two years, together with a small new ladies’s shelter that opened in January within the outdated Central Library. Opening the shelter concerned coordinating with town’s basic providers and actual property departments in addition to partnering with the Nationwide Alliance on Psychological Sickness for staffing, Kaka mentioned concerning the many steps concerned within the venture.
The previous two years even have seen the creation of town’s first non-congregate shelters, a hurt discount shelter and secure haven for longer-term restoration for folks with addictions.
Kaka additionally introduced the Lengthy Seashore-based service supplier Metropolis Web to San Diego to conduct the generally harmful work of outreach at homeless encampments subsequent to freeway onramps. Newsom visited and even pitched in to assist clear up one encampment close to a San Diego freeway, and Kaka mentioned the eye introduced her calls from different cities asking how they might get the identical assist.
Over the previous two years, the Homelessness Methods and Options Division additionally grew from 4 to fifteen positions, $5 million was secured in aggressive grants for homeless applications and town’s finances for applications elevated by 27 %.
Additionally in that point, nevertheless, the variety of homeless encampments appeared to develop all through town, and a month-to-month rely of individuals dwelling outside simply in downtown soared to nearly 2,000. Continued reviews from the San Diego Regional Process Pressure on Homelessness have discovered that extra folks fall into homelessness than discover housing countywide nearly each month.
Kaka mentioned there are various points behind the rising inhabitants, together with housing prices, fentanyl and psychological well being, and mentioned she is inspired to see many communities working collectively towards options. For instance of upcoming new approaches, Kaka talked about CARE Court docket — often known as the Neighborhood Help, Restoration and Empowerment Court docket — that might be launched in San Diego County and different locations later this 12 months as a manner of getting extra folks into remedy for addictions and psychological well being points.
Kaka’s former place in San Diego has been crammed by Sarah Jarman, who was an inaugural member of the Homelessness Methods and Options Division and who had been former Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s senior adviser on homelessness.