San Diego KO’s United Way Homeless Program

The Army’s emergency lodge for homeless women and children defunded

By Victor Pinzon –

At a time when funding for federal programs is being transferred to private agencies, the United Way of San Diego is cutting funds by $100,000.

A controversial decision by the United Way to defund The Salvation Army’s Family Development Center in downtown San Diego has resulted in a budget crisis that will not easily be resolved.

“The cuts amount to $100,000 less for homeless women and children,” asserts Lt. Colonel Donald G. Sather, Sierra Del Mar divisional commander. “This is a program that should be enhanced with more funds because the need is that great. The Center is vital to the well-being of downtown San Diego, not to mention the homeless women and children we serve.”

Approximately 342 families, comprised of 1,427 individuals, received shelter, food and counseling last year. It also helped 134 single women find hope and refuge from abusive relationships. More than 70 percent of the families who complete three months in the program are stabilized, living independently in their own apartments.

“How can they say this program is not a priority for our community?” asks Sather, who cites the Center’s downtown location as a vital reason the program should not have been victimized by the United Way’s funding strategy.

“San Diegans, especially members of the business community, are constantly expressing concern about the numbers of homeless on our streets. Our center provides nearly 12,000 nights of shelter and not only keeps women and children off the streets, but on the road to employment and success in independent living.”

The Army is seeking funding alternatives to keep the center open.

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