Grading San Diego’s political will and efficacy around homelessness

We believe homelessness is the region’s most urgent ongoing issue, requiring thoughtful, decisive and timely action and most importantly political will.  

We have established this scoring system in order to publicly highlight tangible, positive action and to call out shortcomings of elected leaders for addressing homelessness throughout San Diego County.  It is compiled and organized by the Lucky Duck Foundation, which meets weekly to follow facts, collaborate with and survive generations of politicians, and apply sound business principles to fund, activate and lead high-impact programs designed to immediately help those suffering from homelessness.

The purpose is to showcase what is working so it can be replicated, and what is not working so it can be corrected or avoided. Strong actions that drive progress will earn “Shamrocks,” while ineffectiveness and inaction will earn “Shipwrecks.”

New Shipwreck released Feb. 21 for the City of San Diego - see below

Particular consideration is given to tangible actions by elected leaders and their jurisdictions to:

  • Add urgently needed shelter beds
  • Create and implement an annual inclement weather shelter plan
  • Meaningfully address veteran homelessness
  • Meaningfully address youth homelessness
  • Pursue and deploy government funding sources to increase the number of housing opportunities for homeless families

San Diego County’s 18 Cities

Grading parameters


Grading parameters

Shipwrecks are given for the decisions and inaction of elected leaders that enable or perpetuate homelessness. This can include ineffective spending or efforts and programs that make little or no noticeable difference.

Process explanation

The Lucky Duck Foundation, in partnership with the "Tuesday Group,” studies homelessness daily and meets weekly to determine how the private sector and philanthropy can most meaningfully accelerate change. We look to collaborate with elected leaders along with the region’s service providers, business community, and philanthropy to identify and implement high-impact programs. This scoring system is designed to highlight tangible, difference-making programs and action, and call out failures, missteps and missed opportunities of San Diego County’s elected and community leaders and their cities. Strong actions that drive progress earn “Shamrocks,” while failures and ineffectiveness receive “Shipwrecks.”

We want to hear from you.
What Do YOU Think about YOUR City’s
approach to homelessness?

We will donate a pair of socks in your honor.

Introducing the Inaugural Shamrocks & Shipwrecks


Release date:  

Vista has earned one shamrock (expand to see details)

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Oceanside has earned one Shamrock (expand to see details)

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Chula Vista

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Chula Vista has earned one Shamrock and one Shipwreck (expand to see details)

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La Mesa

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La Mesa has earned one Shamrock (expand to see details)

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The City of San Diego

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The City of San Diego has earned two Shamrocks and four Shipwrecks (expand to see details)

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County of San Diego

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The County of San Diego has earned two Shamrocks and one Shipwreck (expand to see details)

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In order to accelerate and support the region’s efforts and compel additional "Shamrocks," the Lucky Duck Foundation commits to taking these steps:

1. Underwrite the cost of purchasing 25 pallet homes; under the right circumstances, and, provided government contributes their fair share.

2. Underwrite the cost of purchasing and erecting a Sprung Structure bridge shelter to quickly shelter hundreds of people; under the right circumstances, and, provided government contributes their fair share.

3. Stand poised and ready to work with each City as well as the County and State to find ways to activate underutilized government properties, such as the old central library, to address homelessness.

4. Provide food & water to unsheltered homeless, delivered by outreach workers . This ongoing effort reaches approximately 1,000 people daily and has distributed well over 1,400,000 meals since launching in response to the pandemic. Per feedback from outreach workers, 97% say the food & water is life-saving and 85% say they have more positive interactions with individuals living unsheltered as a result. We are glad to increase the reach of this program by providing more food and partnering with additional outreach teams throughout the region. Learn more here.

5. Fund region-wide employment & job training opportunities as well as access to technology and education for individuals experiencing homelessness; LDF has invested more than $2 million in support of this effort. Learn more here.

6. And several other steps including but not limited to: convening San Diego’s research institutions to research homelessness; participating in Governor Newsom’s philanthropic working group on homelessness and housing; working to push collaboration in partnership with the Regional Task Force on Homelessness; supporting the Taxpayers Educational Foundation’s “Public Regional Outcomes Standards” Board; regularly hosting homeless symposiums with key stakeholders to instigate progress and collaboration; and funding, activating and leading other high-impact programs designed to make an immediate impact.