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Kearny Mesa company to use training tool for first responders to house homeless

Posted at 2:41 PM, Aug 07, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A Kearny Mesa company that trains military and first responders at a local movie and TV studio is pivoting to help solve the county's homelessness crisis.

Strategic Operations, located in the backlot of Stu Segall Productions television and movie studio, says it plans to begin building temporary housing for homeless families out of shipping containers.

The studio lot is filled with shipping containers that have been converted into commercial, residential, and industrial settings to help military, first responders, and medical professionals train.

Kit Lavell, Strategic Operations executive vice president, says that the same approach can be brought to constructing temporary housing, which they're calling "Strategic Habitats," and for less.

"Strategic Habitats are larger than hotel rooms, which recently have been converted to homeless housing, while our Strategic Habitats are priced 30 to 40 percent less than converted hotels or new construction," Lavell said in a release. "Additionally, Strategic Habitats are much quicker to complete over new construction and the units can easily be assembled in a variety of configurations and placed on parking lots or any open property."

The 480-square-foot containers will be furnished with plumbing, air conditioning and heating, a double-burner stove, microwave, and refrigerator. Bedrooms will sleep two adults and two children and the housing units can be placed side-by-side or stacked.

Lavell says several city officials have visited to tour the potential tool to address the region's homelessness.

Ashley Bailey, senior press secretary and director of digital media with Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office, said in a statement that the idea is still in its early stages.

"The City is open to exploring all solutions that help create more housing stock and address homelessness. This idea is in its early stages, and would need to be vetted to ensure that the units are equipped with proper safety and habitability features, as well as the ongoing care that many individuals need. We look forward to hearing more from the proponents about the proposal," Bailey said.