Losing Our Veterans to Other States

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April 26, 2019

San Diego is home to the largest concentration of the military personnel in the world. According to a San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC) study there are currently 143,000 active duty personnel, with an increase of 15,000 more on the way in the near future. As a major hub for the military San Diego is also home to 214,000 veterans.

The military and San Diego go hand in hand, as the military serves as a major catalyst in the local economy. It is responsible for creating 340,000 jobs and is also responsible for 22% of San Diego’s gross regional product.(1) The military does an excellent job supporting San Diego, but as a region we could do a better job of supporting the military and our veterans.

Veteran population is increasing across the country, but on the decline in California. There are a couple different factors causing this, but the main challenge is lack of affordable housing. This problem is exacerbated with veterans as they leave service and lose housing subsidies. What was once affordable can overnight become un-affordable. With housing prices as high as they are veterans are forced to leave California and seek employment and housing elsewhere.

Especially in San Diego, we have been facing a housing shortage that is driving top veteran talent out of our region and into neighboring states. This is bad for local business and it weakens our overall economy. Veterans are extremely desirable employees. They bring a high level of education, work ethic, discipline, and leadership to companies. Local business communities are quickly recognizing that veterans have a unique skill set that make them a valuable resource for any organization.

As a region we must find a way to create more affordable housing so our veterans stay local. They are critical pillars of our local economy and add an innumerable value to our communities. If we want to keep our regional economy strong we need to create more housing to keep veterans local.

(1)San Diego Military Economic Impact Study (2018), https://www.sdmac.org/static/media/uploads/MEIS%202018/2018%20MEIS%20Page/18_sdmac_economicimpactstudy_foldedbrochure_fnl2_singlepage.pdf

Debra Rosen, President & CEO
(858) 487 1767