City of San Diego sets up temporary camp for homeless

Posted at 9:23 AM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 15:32:58-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other city officials Wednesday announced plans to convert the City Operations Yard into a "Transitional Camp Area" for San Diego's homeless population.

In collaboration with the Alpha Project, the camp will open Oct. 9 at 20th and B streets in Golden Hill to provide services for the homeless while the city finishes work on three temporary shelters.

The locations for the temporary shelters:

-- the parking lot on Father Joe's Villages campus at 14th and Commercial Streets in the East Village
-- a vacant lot in the 2700 block of Sports Arena Boulevard, behind the Goodwill store, in the Midway District to be run by the Veterans Village of San Diego
-- a vacated street at 16th Street and Newton Avenue for a shelter to be operated by the Alpha Project

The 136-space Transitional Camp Area, which will have on-site 24-hour security, will provide access to restrooms, showers, handwashing stations and transitional storage, city officials said.

Each person will register and be assigned a 13-foot-by-13-foot space, but each space can accommodate one or more people, officials added.

Faulconer said, "While we work to open more shelters, this transitional camp area will provide hundreds of homeless men and women a safe and clean space as an alternative to living on the sidewalk. No one should be sleeping in a public place in unsanitary conditions. This site is one more way we’re working to help our most vulnerable and reduce homeless encampments in our neighborhoods. We are cleaning up our city."

City Councilman Chris Ward, Chair of the city's Select Committee on Homelessness, said, "We’ve been pushing for safe camping because homeless on streets and in canyons is not a solution in any neighborhood, and the communities I represent have felt that acutely. This Transitional Camp Area -- especially as our sanitation efforts continue to address public health concerns -- provides people a place to go rather than just moving them from place to place. We must continue pursuing additional locations throughout the city, and work with our regional partners and nearby cities for a comprehensive solution that keeps communities safe and continues moving our homeless off the streets and into safe conditions."

While the city believes the camp will provide a safe and sanitary area for the homeless, some nearby residents have already started a petition to stop it from opening.

Some residents think the camp could bring crime and drug use into the neighborhood, due to its proximity to homes and schools.

So far, 59 people have signed the petition.

The announcement of temporary shelters comes amid a hepatitis A outbreak among many of San Diego's homeless population.