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Two donations help establish San Diego’s first large-scale university resource on homelessness

Donations totaling $2 million from Phyllis and Dan Epstein and Hanna and Mark Gleiberman will launch the Homelessness Hub at UC San Diego to address homelessness in the region

JThe University of California, San Diego is launching the region’s first large-scale academic research and data center focused exclusively on homelessness, thanks to campus friends Phyllis and Dan Epstein and Hanna and Mark Gleiberman. Each couple donated $1 million to the university to create the Homelessness Hub at UC San Diego. The new program, within the university’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, will serve as a nonpartisan center for research, education, policy and action on homelessness.

“Phyllis, Dan, Hanna and Mark, longtime academic supporters and community philanthropists, share the belief that society’s greatest challenges require focused effort and resources to solve,” said UC San Chancellor Diego, Pradeep K. Khosla. “UC San Diego’s Homelessness Hub has the potential to make a significant impact on understanding and addressing the factors that lead to homelessness. We are grateful to the Epsteins and the Gleibermans for their vision to imagine and to fund this important and essential research.

Phillis and Dan Epstein.

Phyllis and Dan Epstein

Both Epstein and Gleiberman were recently honored by Chancellor Khosla with the Chancellor’s Medals, one of the highest honors bestowed by UC San Diego to recognize outstanding service in support of the campus mission. Their donations also help the campaign for UC San Diego, which ends June 30, 2022.

“Having worked in the real estate industry for many years, we have seen firsthand the many challenges our community faces when it comes to housing,” said Mark Gleiberman. “We hope the UC San Diego Homelessness Hub will work collaboratively with universities, nonprofits, and public agencies to use data-driven strategies to inform decision makers on how to address and alleviate the homelessness crisis in San Diego.”

“When we think about our philanthropy, our central themes are empathy and compassion,” added Hanna Gleiberman.

San Diego is the 8th largest city in the United States and there are no academic research collaborations on homelessness south of Los Angeles. Meanwhile, reports show that homelessness in the region has also increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the regional task force on homelessness estimated that the number of first-time homeless people in the county rose from 2,326 in 2019 to 4,152 in 2020, a 79% increase. .

“Homelessness has remained a long-standing problem in San Diego and we should look to the best researchers we have to identify thoughtful solutions. The University of California will play a constructive role in this,” said Dan Epstein “It’s about giving people not just a place to live, but everything that goes with it. UC San Diego can identify what people need and how best to deliver services, and then the real work begins.

UC San Diego’s Homelessness Hub is designed to address this issue by bringing together and drawing on the wisdom of researchers, service providers, civic leaders, and homeless San Diegans to critically research, synthesize and communicate results, as well as to inform local policy and action on homelessness.

“Imagine, for example, if we could optimize San Diego’s winter shelter network,” said Mirle Rabinowitz Bussell, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University. UC San Diego. “Where should we locate shelters? What services should be offered? For how long? For how many people? How can we combine safe overnight parking to help prevent homelessness in the first place? Now, thanks to the At UC San Diego’s Homelessness Hub, we have the opportunity to collaborate with nonprofit and elected leaders to make decisions that move us forward toward the goal of ending homelessness.

The collaboration will allow researchers to track data and statistics related to homelessness in the region comprehensively and in real time, which has not been possible to date. “Our goal with the Homelessness Hub at UC San Diego is to be proactive rather than reactive,” said Leslie Lewis, associate professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. “The collaboration will enable researchers at UC San Diego and other universities to better understand the disparate roots and impacts of homelessness and increase the effectiveness of interventions.”

Hanna and Mark Gleiberman.

Hanna and Mark Gleiberman

The concept of the Homelessness Hub at UC San Diego was initiated when the Gleibermans supported a research study to assess the effectiveness of the safe parking program operated by the Jewish Family Service (JFS) of San Diego. The Secure Parking Program provides a welcoming environment for families to spend the night in their vehicle at four county parking lots. The program also offers assistance with basic needs, family well-being and financial education. The study shed light on some of the root causes of the problem, including personal tragedies that compound structural challenges such as widespread economic insecurity and the shortage of affordable housing in our region.

Part of the Gleibermans’ donation also helped support homelessness education classes in which UC San Diego students visited secure parking sites, served dinner to customers and conducted history interviews. oral to understand the diversity of this population and the daily challenges. San Diegans homeless face. Students shared how these experiences profoundly changed their own thinking and attitudes about this complex issue. “This course gave me a better understanding of the intersectionality between health and homelessness, which I hope to address in my future in healthcare,” said student Megha Aepala.

UC San Diego’s Homelessness Hub also received seed funding from the Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research and the Lucky Duck Foundation.

Philanthropic donations, like those of the Epsteins and Gleibermans, help Campaign for UC San Diego, the university’s overall fundraising effort that ends in June 2022. Along with philanthropic partners from the UC San Diego, the university continues its untraditional path to breakthrough ideas, unexpected answers, life-saving discoveries, and impact on the planet. To learn more about the program, visit the UC San Diego Homelessness Hub website. Those interested in supporting the Homelessness Hub can visit this Homelessness Action, Research and Policy Fund (HARP) page.

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