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Local hotel transformed into housing for youth experiencing homelessness

Posted at 6:58 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 21:58:28-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A local hotel is now being used to house young people who are experiencing homelessness in San Diego County.

San Diego Youth Services, in partnership with Urban Street Angels and Home Start, converted the hotel last November.

"It feels like home, it doesn't feel like an institution," said Mark Bartlett, Urban Street Angels' Director of Programs and Community Relations.

The rooms have everything you would find in a hotel. The nonprofits provide clean sheets, fresh towels, as well as a welcome basket with cleaning supplies, dishes, and other home essentials.

"We want them coming in knowing that everything is here for you," Bartlett said.

Currently, 95% of the 60 units are occupied by youth experiencing homelessness.

The facility also has a recreation center, a communal kitchen stocked with food, and a laundry mat.

The nonprofits said the home-like environment makes people feel more comfortable than in a traditional shelter.

"Oftentimes our youth are already involved with being exploited, they've already been victimized," said Steven Jella, Associate Executive Director of San Diego Youth Services.

Jella said youth are also provided with on-site wraparound services, including counseling and career development training

"It is our goal to get the young people grounded, get them on a plan that's their choosing," Jella said. "We can knock off 75 percent of adult struggles if we care about young people now."