Rebuilding lives reduces strains on ERs
“The old way wasn’t working,” added Maienschein, a Republican and fiscal conservative. “In an era of declining government resources, it is more important than ever to be able to show the long-term results actually save money.”
Maienschein’s “new way” is Project 25, a program in its second year that targets the city’s most expensive frequent users of 911 for permanent housing and ongoing medical care, all at a fraction of the cost of leaving them on the street. City officials estimate that less than 1 percent of the city population — 1,136 frequent users — will account for more than 17 percent of San Diego’s ambulance and paramedic calls in a year. That’s more than $20 million.
The program’s institutional core would make liberals happy: federally funded housing vouchers, a Medi-Cal health plan, complete with mental health services, are among the assistance offered to clients found by homeless outreach workers.
With his preliminary data for Project 25 projecting first-year savings of $5.3 million, Maienschein could end up pleasing conservatives and stumping liberal critics, who found him an inexperienced choice for local homeless czar.