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City of San Diego opens second safe sleeping site

Posted at 5:28 PM, Oct 21, 2023

The City of San Diego opened another safe sleeping site on Saturday. It's the second one since the city passed its unsafe camping ordinance in the summer. Three months ago, the city started enforcing the ordinance, which makes it illegal to sleep in public spaces if there's a shelter bed available.

Still, it won't take you more than a few minutes to find a tent on a sidewalk in San Diego. But since the enforcement began, the city told ABC 10News it has given out just 8 misdemeanors and arrested only one person.

District 3 city councilman Stephen Whithburn is the brainchild behind the strategy. He says even with all of the tents, the situation is better than it was and will continue to improve.

"We have seen a 35% decrease in the number of encampments in the last four months," Whitburn told ABC 10News. "We have been letting the unsheltered population know, we have places for you to go now."

Like its first site at 20th and B Street, the city's new camping site is outside, but it can accommodate 400 people. It's located at the edge of Balboa Park near the Naval Medical Center.

The city says each tent has space for two people, and the program, "provides on-site amenities and services, including meals, restrooms, showers, laundry, storage trailers, case management, basic needs assistance, and resource referrals."
"We have a waiting list of people who want to get into this second safe sleeping site," Whitburn says.