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Golden Hall opening as a temporary bridge shelter

Posted at 4:44 PM, Apr 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-02 14:16:15-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - More than 140 women, children and their family members will live inside Golden Hall for at least the next three months.

The theater's second floor concourse will serve as a temporary bridge shelter while the city installs a new shelter tent at the corner of 17th and Imperial.

Father Joe's Villages will manage the shelter, which is to serve as a transition for homeless families to find permanent housing and get on their feet. A recent city report found about 1,500 people were sleeping on San Diego's streets.

The families moving into Golden Hall had been living in a bridge tent shelter at 14th and Commercial. That shelter is being removed to make way for a Father Joe's 14-story affordable housing tower.

Golden Hall will have on-site residential staff and security 24 hours a day.

Deacon Jim Vargas, president of Father Joe's Villages, said Golden Hall's location will present challenges when it comes to delivering key services out of Father Joe's main campus across downtown. He said these next few months will be a good test to see if something longer term could work.

"I personally would love, in addition to the tent, to have some brick and mortar," said Vargas. "And if this facility works out well we'd be happy to continue as a service provider."

The city is installing the new tent at 17th and Commercial over the next few months. It will cost about $1 million, plus $5,000 a month to rent the land.