Beds available for homeless veterans at Midway-area tent

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jan 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-26 20:28:35-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Veterans Village, which runs the temporary homeless tent in the Midway District, tells 10News only about 150 of its 200 beds are filled.

CEO Kim Mitchell says they have five staff members walking the streets every day looking for more veterans who need a safe, warm place to stay.

If there are family members or friends who know of veterans out there, let them know we’re here and encourage them to come to the tent," Mitchell said Friday while giving 10News a tour.

The facility opened last month as part of the City of San Diego's plan to curb the homeless crisis.  Even though it's made with a tent-like material, it looks like a permanent structure. It has full air conditioning and heating, bathroom facilities, food, and water.

There are also staff members on hand to help the homeless get back on their feet.  That includes job searching services and help finding permanent housing. San Diego County sends staff to help daily and the VA comes once a week to provide healthcare.

Mitchell tells 10News many veterans are eligible for disability payments and health coverage without even knowing it.

One example is an 89-year-old Korean War Army veteran named Norm Fiesell.  When he arrived at the tent this week, he told the staff he had given up his insurance policies. They looked into his situation and discovered he was eligible for healthcare and began working on the paperwork to reinstate his coverage.

"I says 'Dynamite'," Fiesell told 10News. "I would never have known that."

Anyone who thinks they are eligible to stay in the tent can go to the facility behind the Goodwill on Sports Arena Boulevard. Security staff checks to make sure each person is a veteran, then staff perform a full evaluation.