/Morning Report: Why a Homeless Student Was Booted From School

Morning Report: Why a Homeless Student Was Booted From School

Willow School / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Federal law calls for schools to remove any barriers that could hamper homeless students’ access to education.

Yet one homeless family was recently left reeling when the San Ysidro School District, which educated the largest share of homeless students in the region, kicked out a sixth-grade student because she’d failed to jump through new hoops requiring certain families to show proof of their homelessness every 30 days, Lisa Halverstadt reports in a new story. The 11-year-old was eventually allowed to return.

The district’s homeless services coordinator told the family the paperwork rules were a result of new requirements instituted by the state. Yet the state official responsible for overseeing programs serving homeless students told us she didn’t know of any new requirements.

The district declined to comment on the family in question, but said there are times when it’s forced to make tough calls.

“In the rare circumstances when families are unresponsive to submitting any documentation verifying their child qualifies as homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act, then under the law a student may be unenrolled until verification is provided,” the district wrote in a statement.

Business Leaders Line Up Behind Inclusionary Housing Policy

The San Diego City Council will vote Tuesday on City Council President Georgette Gómez’s proposal to change the rule that requires builders to either construct units set aside for lower-income residents in their projects or pay a fee.

At a Monday press conference, representatives for development and business groups who have opposed Gómez’s proposed tweaks housing policy stood behind her proposal. They told Voice of San Diego they appreciated changes Gómez made to the policy following Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s September veto. The fee they have to pay will go up more slowly after the compromise.

“Consensus was hard to achieve but everyone was persistent and focused and we got there,” said Craig Benedetto, who lobbies for the local chapter of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association best known as NAIOP.

Now the question is whether Gómez can achieve consensus with the City Council and the mayor.

Faulconer said Monday he appreciated the changes and expected to support the policy. But he wasn’t willing to confirm he would support it.

“I think you’re likely to still see some changes in the next day or so, but I think it’s absolutely headed in the right direction and that’s what we want,” Faulconer said. “We want people working together.”

Notably absent from the press conference was Councilwoman Vivian Moreno, who provided a key vote against the policy both times it’s been before the Council.

The Homeless Housing Navigation Center That Doesn’t House the Homeless Is Open

Residents wait to be helped at the city’s new homeless navigation center in East Village. The center is meant to be a “one-stop-shop” linking clients with services and resources. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Monday debuted the city’s long awaited (and controversial) homeless housing navigation center in East Village.

Faulconer and others described the former indoor skydiving facility turned homeless service hub as a one-stop shop where homeless San Diegans can be linked with services and housing.

Officials at Family Health Centers of San Diego, the nonprofit operating the facility, said they have already helped dozens of homeless San Diegans. They also report that more than 20 agencies have agreed to help.

What the facility doesn’t have onsite: shelter or housing. The facility’s foremost goal, Family Health Center officials said, is to help homeless San Diegans navigate a complex web of services. The nonprofit is also working to ramp up smaller centers in North Park, Chula Vista and El Cajon.

Experts have said that goal means those facilities’ ultimate success will rest on the larger homeless service system’s ability to efficiently deliver housing and other aid to those who seek help at the navigation center.

Local Leaders Urge Feds to Do More to Address Cross-Border Sewage

Local politicians and organizations are ramping up their calls for the federal government to do more to address the cross-border sewage issues that regularly result in beach closures across the South Bay. 

“Last week, the cities of Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, Coronado and San Diego, as well as San Diego County, Port of San Diego, San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board and the California State Lands Commission, passed resolutions to recommend federal action on cross-border pollution in the Tijuana River Valley,” Maya Srikrishnan reports in this week’s Border Report. “The new resolution calls on the federal government to fund Environmental Protection Agency projects that would help restore and maintain the Tijuana River Valley.”

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby and Lisa Halverstadt, and edited by Scott Lewis.