SAN DIEGO — Sporting a bright smile and the polished Super Bowl ring he won as a star NFL player in the late 1980s, Craig McEwen doesn’t fit the archetype of someone teetering on the brink of homelessness.
Evicted from his San Diego County apartment last July, McEwen — who endured repeated concussions during his six seasons in the NFL — scoured housing listings for anything he could afford.
His frantic search for a job as a groundskeeper on a golf course, earning $15 per hour, turned up no results. So, feeling overwhelmed by rents pushing $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, he made a plan: move into his truck or rent a storage container to live in — an alternative he turned to when he was previously homeless in 2004.
McEwen believes that a Californian health initiative, CalAIM, which offers new and specialized social services to low-income residents will help him get on his feet. He is one of nearly 145,000 low-income Californians enrolled in CalAIM, an endeavor Gavin Newsom, the state’s Democratic governor, is spearheading to transform its Medicaid program, called Medi-Cal, into a new kind of safety net that provides housing and other services for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming…