Mobile Crisis Response Teams assist 268 San Diegans
The countywide Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) initiative launched several months ago has already responded to 268 calls (as of Nov. 29, 2021) for service with 30% transported to Crisis Stabilization Units and 45% connected to community services. Thirty-four percent of the people the MCRTs helped were experiencing homelessness.
Chair Nathan Fletcher in 2020 introduced and passed the policy to make MCRTs available in all services areas of the county. Starting on Wednesday, all 16 teams will be available in all regions in the county and can be accessed by calling 1 (888) 724-7240, and work is being done to create access also through 911 in all communities.
“Mobile Crisis Response Teams are part of our ongoing implementation of better mental health and addiction treatment services to help put San Diegans on a path to recovery,” said Chair Fletcher. “Instead of sending law enforcement to assist someone having a mental health episode, we now have teams of mental health clinicians, case managers, and peer support advocates. In a short period of time, MCRTs are proving to be a success, but as the program continues to roll out we will make adjustments and efficiencies to ensure we’re continuously making progress with helping our residents.”
API-owned businesses generate $5 billion impact on region
A recent study commissioned by the Asian Business Association of San Diego finds that Asian Pacific Islander (API) owned businesses generated $5 billion in economic impact in the San Diego region in 2021.
The Asian Business Association of San Diego study, developed with the support of the San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center Network, T-Mobile, and Booz Allen Hamilton, set out to thoroughly examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Asian and Pacific Islander-owned business community.
“This report stands alone in the nation in providing the most current and in-depth look at API businesses,” said Asian Business Association San Diego President & CEO Jason Paguio. “The report’s findings and conclusions are critical to understanding the unique issues and challenges facing this business community.”
The study and report utilized census data, survey responses, and economic modeling software to build a comprehensive profile and outlook. Survey data from the United States Census Bureau identified approximately 24,692 self-employed API residents in the county and 9,100 API-owned businesses creating approximately 90,000 total jobs.
“The pandemic has upended San Diego’s economic growth, especially within the Asian and Pacific Islander community. Despite the onslaught of challenges, from racial discrimination to employee retention, API-owned businesses in the San Diego region generated $5 billion in this last year. Forty percent of that revenue came from District 6, which I represent,” said Councilmember Chris Cate. “The new report from the Asian Business Association of San Diego will be considerably useful to informing the decisions of API job creators, as well as local government officials, as we work to move into a brighter future of financial solvency and success.”
The study also finds that San Diego API-owned businesses are disproportionately affected from the pandemic when compared to businesses overall. One of out ten owners reported being racially harassed or discriminated against during the pandemic.
Rent up 22% since Jan. 2021
Rental platform Dwellsy found that rent increased by almost 22% in San Diego during 2021. Median asking rent is up by 21.5% – from $1,949 to $2,368. That meant San Diegans needed an addition $419 per month to afford rent. Thankfully, there is a small winter slump where rents went down by over 1% which accounted for $27 per month.
Dwellsy offers free listings of available apartments and homes for rent, so the platform has dwellings at multiple price points to compare.
Meanwhile, The Apartment List Annual Rent Report found a 16.4% increase in the national median rent from January to October 2021.
Pride Parade and Festival to return in 2022
San Diego Pride announced the return of the annual in-person San Diego Pride week, including the Pride Parade and Festival, in July of 2022.
“Pride brings us together in times of protest, mourning, victory, and celebration. Pride helps connect us to community and our found family. Pride gives us access to life-saving direct services and provides grant funding to our local and global LGBTQ community,” said Fernando Z. López, San Diego Pride Executive Director. “I’m inspired by the thought of our community coming together again. Together we will continue to pursue justice with joy.”
Pride week will begin Saturday, July 9, and runs through July 17, 2022. The events include:
She Fest – July 9, 2022
Light Up the Cathedral – July 13, 2022
Spirit of Stonewall Rally – July 15, 2022
Pride 5K Walk & Run – July 16, 2022
San Diego Pride Parade – July 16, 2022
San Diego Pride Festival – July 16-17, 2022
San Diego Pride’s Parade and Festival is the 4th largest Pride in the nation and hosted over 350,000 attendees in 2019. Past festivals have featured headliners like Kesha, TLC, Melissa Etheridge, and En Vogue.
In 2020, San Diego Pride held the first-ever Pride Live where over 400,000 folks tuned in to celebrate the LGBTQ community. In 2021, San Diego Pride held over 40 hybrid virtual and in-person events, with over 100,000 attendees throughout Pride week.
Since its founding, San Diego Pride has granted over $3 million back to the local and international LGBTQ+ community from the revenue generated by the annual Pride week events.
“LGBTQ diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to our efforts to invite people to our vibrant city because when people feel welcome, they want to visit,” said Julie Coker, President and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority. “That is why we are so excited San Diego Pride is scheduled to return in 2022. It will highlight our friendly, inclusive spirit while attracting visitors to our hotels, restaurants, and cultural attractions and boosting our local tourism economy.”
Local families may qualify for discount internet services
Cox’s ConnectAssist is a low-cost broadband option available to qualifying low-income households without school age children in the home and who don’t qualify for Cox’s Connect2Compete, a program designed for families with children in grades K-12.
ConnectAssist is available to households that participate in one of the following government subsidies programs: SNAP, TANF, Head Start, WIC, LIHEAP, Public Housing, Pell Grant, Veterans Pension & Survivors Benefits, Tribal Programs, Supplemental Security Income, or Medicaid.
The ConnectAssist internet tier provides qualifying households with broadband internet speeds up to 50Mbps download/3Mbps upload and a modem rental for $30 per month plus taxes. Eligible customers can sign up at cox.com/digitalequity and are not required to go through credit checks, commit to term agreements, or pay deposits.
In addition to ConnectAssist and Connect2Compete, Cox is a participating provider in the federal government’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program (EBB), which provides up to $50 a month credit toward a qualifying individual’s internet bill, and a discount on the purchase of a computer or laptop. The EBB is just one of a number of programs readily available to qualifying households that could save them money on their computer purchases and monthly internet service.
Customers qualifying for ConnectAssist are also most likely eligible for the Federal Government’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program, making internet connectivity even more affordable. Customers may be able to get ConnectAssist for as low as $0 per month after the discount with the Emergency Broadband Benefit. The discount amount and eligibility are based on EBB program rules which are subject to change. Customers can learn more about the EBB program (and check their eligibility) at cox.com/ebb.
Scholarship gives SDUSD paraeducators path to becoming teachers
Nonprofit, online university Western Governors University (WGU) and San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) announce the TEACH-LEAD San Diego Teacher Pathway Scholarship, designed to eliminate the barriers that hold future educators back from pursuing their goals. The scholarship is open to new and returning WGU students enrolled with the Teacher’s College and are currently employed as a paraeducator with SDUSD.
Additionally, it will increase equity and inclusion by eliminating barriers, such as financial constraints, time commitments, and the flexibility of class schedules by creating a clear pathway to becoming a teacher. Students enrolled in this program will no longer have to choose between employment or education, opening the door to building inclusive and stable workforces by addressing equity gaps and barriers to degree attainment. WGU’s online competency-based model provides the flexibility to enable the students to complete their degree and related certificates in only 18 to 24 months.
WGU’s Director of Regional Operations – West Region, Bob Benson, said, “WGU is an affordable and flexible option for learners that are interested in accelerating at their own pace while graduating with little or no debt. The many benefits include robust scholarship opportunities, a program mentor for each student, and a competency-based format, which allows students to complete a course as soon as they have shown mastery of the material, allowing them to move forward as desired.”
500,000 pounds of plant-based meat donated to Feeding San Diego
Feeding San Diego has received its largest food donation to date from San Diego-based Jensen Meat Company. The company is donating 500,000 pounds of its new plant-based patties to the local hunger relief organization to be distributed throughout San Diego County by Feeding San Diego and its community partners, which include faith-based organizations, food pantries, and other non-profits. Jensen Meat Company is a leading processor and marketer of high-quality ground beef products that recently expanded into plant-based beef alternatives.
Jensen Meat Company has been a food donor to Feeding San Diego since 2015 and has donated over 40,678 pounds of food to the organization to date. Feeding San Diego works with local food manufacturers like Jensen Meat Company to rescue food that might otherwise end up in a landfill, for business reasons such as surplus or changed orders. For this donation, Jensen Meat Company donated the product as a new production line to share with the community, but most donations are done to cut food waste.
“Plant-based meat alternatives are high in demand right now, and we are pleased to be able to provide this product to those in the community facing hunger,” said Patty O’Connor, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Feeding San Diego. “This product is high in protein and a great vegan option for those we serve. Generous food donors like Jensen Meat Company make our mission of ending hunger through food rescue possible.”
Instead of disposing of food, Feeding San Diego provides an opportunity for local businesses to give back to the community with their food donations. On January 1, 2022, Senate Bill 1383 became law and requires food businesses to donate edible food to hunger relief organizations rather than sending it to the landfill.
Feeding San Diego and its almost 300 community partners serve groups vulnerable to food insecurity, including low-income families, college students, and military families and veterans. The organization has arranged for ongoing deliveries of the plant-based patties to 22 of its partners, including South Bay Food Pantry, San Diego Rescue Mission, and the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. The patties will also be handed out at Feeding San Diego’s Together Tour series of large-scale food distributions throughout San Diego County for most of 2022.
5k to benefit mental health services for families
Hannah’s Family Center will be holding its Peace in the Family 5K Run & Walk on February 5, 2022, at NTC Park in Liberty Station. The event, which starts at 9 a.m., will benefit mental health counseling and needed services for families including child and teen victims of domestic violence in the family.
The Peace in the Family 5K Run & Walk is a family-friendly racecourse through San Diego’s lovely Liberty Station NTC Park and is open to parents, kids, friends, and colleagues for a fun morning that will help bring peaceful resolutions to families in need.
Registrants can sign up as an individual or part of a team by visiting hannasfamilycenter.org. All registrants for the race will receive a t-shirt and race bib before the start of the race and a participant medal at the finish line. Teams and individuals can compete for prizes. Early bird registration is priced at $35/person with regular registration of $45/person after Jan. 30, 2022, and $55 day of and includes your race entry and access to the festival area with booths provided by race sponsors.