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Council president floats idea of making Golden Hall a permanent homeless shelter

Posted at 3:52 PM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-19 21:28:57-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez has floated the idea of turning the second floor of Golden Hall into a permanent homeless shelter.

Gomez made her comments Tuesday as the City Council unanimously approved a plan to use the second floor as a temporary shelter for three months while a Father Joe's bridge shelter is relocated.

The current shelter for women and families at 14th and Commercial will close April 1. The city plans to build a new tent shelter to open on a lot at 17th and Imperial by June 30. Construction will cost $1 million and the city will lease the land for $5,000 a month.

"So why spend $1 million to put something back when we can actually spend $1 million in maybe long-term leases to try to find a permanent solution," Gomez said.

The Golden Hall concourse is about 1.5 miles away, and steps from City Hall. The bottom floor is still used for various events, including naturalization ceremonies and performances.

Greg Block, a spokesman for the mayor, said long-term at Golden Hall wouldn't work for Father Joe's.

"For their clients, they need to be close to their main campus," he said. "Going back and forth via shuttle and all kinds of things isn't a workable solution for these folks that are there longer term."

Bill Bolstad, chief revenue officer for Father Joe's, said the 17th and Imperial location would help residents get health and child care and employment services.

"All kinds of things that are infinitely easier to provide when it's right next door, that's why we're very excited about the location down there," he said.

Gomez said she understood that but also that Golden Hall is also close to those locations on the east end of downtown. Ultimately, she supported the current plan, as did the rest of the nine-member City Council.