San Diego County is the recipient of a $5.1 million grant intended to assist people experiencing homelessness along the Sweetwater Riverbed between Chula Vista and National City, it was announced today.

The grant, from California’s $240 million Encampment Resolution Fund, includes an area of the riverbed paralleling Interstate 805 in Chula Vista known to county employees and homelessness-focused organizations as “The Jungle.”

San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Nora Vargas joined with the county’s Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities to apply for the grant, with collaboration by the cities of Chula Vista, National City, and the California Department of Transportation.

“These new funds will greatly expand our ongoing work with the regional partners to bring services into the riverbed,” Vargas said.

The state’s Encampment Resolution Fund is intended to help local jurisdictions resolve encampments and provide permanent housing and service connections.

Tuesday’s award is the second such grant for a county-led partnership.

In June, the county, Caltrans, and San Diego and Santee cities received nearly $17 million to address homeless encampments in the San Diego riverbed. Outreach teams there have already started helping people get into housing and cleaning up the riverbed, a county statement read.

The South Bay’s $5.1 million will help an estimated 75 people living along the Sweetwater riverbed.

“We are looking forward to working with our partners in the Sweetwater riverbed to better understand people’s unique circumstances and needs,” said Barbara Jiménez, county community operations officer. “I’m confident that working together, and with these new resources, we will move more people into housing.”

According to the county, it will make plans over the next several months and work with the partner entities to “bring together the staff and resources necessary to start work on the Sweetwater riverbed program.”

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