UC San Diego Will Now Have a Dedicated Research Hub Aiming to Eliminate Homelessness

June 6, 2022

UC San Diego in La Jolla is opening a new non-partisan research hub that will be focused exclusively on studying and addressing the factors that lead to homelessness.

The Homelessness Hub at UC San Diego will fall under the banner of the university’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. La Jolla philanthropist couples Phyllis and Dan Epstein and Hanna and Mark Gleiberman each donated $1 million to UC San Diego to help fund the hub, the La Jolla Light has reported.

“Phyllis, Dan, Hanna and Mark share a common conviction that society’s biggest challenges require focused efforts and resources to solve,” said Pradeep Khosla, UCSD Chancellor. “The Homelessness Hub at UC San Diego has the potential to make a significant impact in understanding and addressing the factors that lead to homelessness.”

From left to right: Dan Epstein, Phyllis Epstein, Hanna Gleiberman, and Mark Gleiberman – philanthropists whose combined contributions amounted to $1 million devoted to the UC San Diego Homelessness Hub. Images courtesy of UCSD News

The hub will seek to tackle the issue of homelessness by “bringing together and drawing upon the wisdom of researchers, service providers, civic leaders and unhoused San Diegans to conduct critical research, synthesize and communicate findings, as well as inform local policy and action to address homelessness.”

An example could be local winter shelters in San Diego. By speaking to experts, nonprofit leaders, and elected officials, the hub’s researchers could find answers to many questions — from where to locate shelters to what services should be offered there.

“Now, through the Homelessness Hub at UC San Diego, we have the opportunity to collaborate with nonprofit leaders and elected officials to make decisions that move us toward the goal of eliminating homelessness,” said Mirle Rabinowitz Bussell, UCSD professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

In 2021, a local regional task force on homelessness found that the number of first-time homeless people in San Diego grew 79 percent from 2,326 in 2019 to 4,152 in 2020. Furthermore, veteran homelessness continues to be a growing issue in the area.

“Homelessness has remained a long-term problem in San Diego, and we should turn to the best researchers we have to identify thoughtful solutions,” said Dan Epstein. “The University of California will play a constructive role in that regard.”

About the author: Mike Peterson is a freelance journalist and writer based in North San Diego County. He’s written and worked for a number of local media outlets, including the San Diego Union-Tribune, the North Coast Current, and the Oceanside Blade.