Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement (“HOME”) Program

The Regional Task Force on Homelessness describes some of the causes of homelessness in a recent plan report as being due to “significant loss of affordable housing, wages and public assistance that have not kept up with the cost of living, the deinstitutionalization of state psychiatric institutions, and the rapid growth of income inequality, especially within major urban markets like San Diego. It is also known that micro-level forces – such as health, mental health, substance use, early childhood trauma, economic forces such as job loss or living on a fixed income, domestic violence, and others – play a role and are prevalent in San Diego’s homeless population.”

To address the issue locally, the City of La Mesa and La Mesa Police Department (LMPD) formed the Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement (“HOME”) Program in 2021 modeled after the successful CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Oregon. HOME is designed with a “housing-first and trauma-informed approach” to connect people with services in non-emergency situations. Trained specialists, including a full-time outreach worker and mental health clinician, are dispatched to respond to non-emergency calls related to homelessness that come into the La Mesa Police Department.

In their latest quarterly report (April-June 2022), HOME outreach specialists newly enrolled 48 individuals in the program. Of these, 21 exited to a temporary or permanent home, and others received short-term services as they passed through La Mesa such as COVID-19 information and items, food, water, vehicle repair, rides to shelter tours, etc. Normally these calls would have been addressed by city emergency response services and law enforcement, but now direct responses to the HOME hotline as well as transfers from LMPD are being streamlined to connect people to what they need.

The Grossmont Healthcare District is collecting food and clothing donations for the HOME program. We’re looking for non-perishable items (specifically protein), new underwear, new or lightly used socks, jackets, and men’s jeans. Visit us in person to donate to our bins.

Contact home@cityoflamesa.us and learn more about the program here.

  • For emergencies related to imminent harm, including medical or psychiatric emergencies, please call 9-1-1.
  • For outreach assistance in obtaining housing, food, clothing, and social services, call the HOME hotline at 619.667.1475.
  • To report non-emergency criminal activity, call the La Mesa Police Department at 619.667.1400.

Any questions or comments? Contact us here.