Cold Weather Shelter Voucher Program for San Diego, California

Since 1997, San Diego County, California’s Department of Housing and Community Development, in collaboration with the Health and Human Services Agency, implemented the Cold Weather Shelter Voucher Program, which provides emergency hotel and motel vouchers to homeless families and individuals – seniors, people with disabilities, and pregnant women – during winter months or inclement weather. Participants are permitted to stay for up to 28 days in the hotel/motel, and during this stay, will have access to resources that will help the individual or families find more permanent housing. 

According to a Regional Task Force on the Homeless in the area, there are at least 1,000 homeless individuals in rural areas and at least 7,900 homeless individuals in urban areas throughout San Diego County. The homeless shelters existing in the County do not have the ability to accommodate this number, meaning that a significant number are exposed during inclement weather. 

To address this issue, the Department of Housing and Community Development, along with the Health and Human Services Agency, established the Shelter Voucher Program. The program activates during periods where rain is expected for at least two days, a storm includes a threat of flash flooding, if water levels rise at least two inches in a 24-hour period, and/or periods of extreme cold. The motels or hotels made available through the program must have adequate sleeping spaces for recipients, as well as sanitary provisions. In some instances, participants of the voucher program may even be able to receive transportation to a motel or hotel during an inclement weather event. 

Eligible recipients include homeless families, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and pregnant women during weather events. Recipients will also need to be screened to ensure that they do not carry drugs, weapons, or alcohol onto the premises. Once enrolled in the program, participants have up to 28 days to stay in the hotel/motel. They are given access to resources that assist in covering basic needs, and set up with a case manager who will assist them in finding permanent housing. Through the Community Action Partnership, families can also enroll in a Family Self-Sufficiency Program.


Publication Date: 1997


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