Group plans tiny shelter community for homeless

Posted at 7:22 PM, Jan 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-26 10:38:26-05

SAN DIEGO -- A local group wants to put more than a dozen tiny shelters on a vacant lot in downtown San Diego so some homeless people don't have to sleep on the streets.

The lot at 17th Street and Imperial Avenue doesn't look like much, but Susan Deboer wouldn't mind calling it home.

"Everyone wants their space, everyone wants to feel like they're at home and everyone deserves that," said Deboer, one of thousands of people who is used to life on the streets.

RELATED: San Diego County's first 'tiny home' community in the works

A homeless advocacy group wants to put tiny shelters on the lot so some homeless people will have a temporary place to stay.

"What we hope is that this will be a model that we can show the city, this is what can be done," said Jeenie Criscenzo with the group Amikas.

The idea came about after San Diego police impounded a shelter donated to Michael Clark. Officers arrested him for encroaching and lodging and took his tiny shelter.

Criscenzo said her group has not contacted the city about their plans.

"I've had enough of this talk, talk, talk, and every time I come down this way I see more and more people on the streets, so it's time to do something," Criscenzo said.

10News reached out to City Councilman Todd Gloria, who represents the area, and he said he doesn't think tiny shelters are a solution to homelessness.

In a statement, Gloria said, "I'm grateful for the compassion of those who promote the tiny home concept but would prefer they support proven solutions to ending homelessness like Housing First."

RELATED: Homeless man arrested for his donated tiny house

Deboer hopes it all works out so she'll have a place to call her own.

"When you give them that step to step onto their porch and open their door, you give them back their purpose for life," Deboer said.

The landowner told 10News he thinks the shelters are a good idea, but wants to make sure it's legal and doesn't cause him any headaches.