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300 unhoused people waiting to move into San Diego's 'Safe Sleeping Site'

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Posted at 11:39 AM, Oct 23, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — As San Diego Police work to enforce the city’s new homeless encampment ban, they’re referring unhoused individuals to two Safe Sleeping Sites.

One at 20th and B streets opened in July, providing shelter with 133 tents. District 3 Councilman Stephen Whitburn says it offers other amenities as well.

“The safe sleeping sites have security, and bathrooms and showers, and this new one even has laundry," Whitburn said. "People get meals, there's connection to shelters and housing. So it's a better safer place for them and of course it's better for our neighborhoods.”

But Whitburn says that site has been mostly full over the last few weeks. On Saturday, the city opened its second Safe Sleeping Site at the O Lot. That lot has 400 tents available and can fit up to 800 people.

“At our first safe sleeping site we enrolled people very gradually, we want to make sure we’re getting people who are a good fit, who agree to abide by the rules, allow them to get settled in," Whitburn said. "We’re going to apply that at the 'O' lot.”

According to Dreams for Change, the organization working on site, they brought 17 unhoused people into the O Lot on Saturday. CEO Teresa Smith told ABC 10News there are 150 people still waiting to move in and outreach teams have identified 150 others also in need.

“There's a waiting list of people who want to get into our second safe sleeping site at the O Lot," Whitburn said. "We’re looking forward to getting hundreds of people off the sidewalks and into a safer, healthier place.”

Smith says they’ll enroll unhoused people into the sites everyday until they reach capacity. She expects both sleeping sites to be full in the next two to three weeks.