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Mayor Todd Gloria tours Veterans housing complex in Grantville

Zephyr is home to 84 formerly homeless veterans
Mayor Todd Gloria tours Veterans housing complex.png
Posted at 3:40 PM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 21:34:20-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — There are hundreds of homeless veterans in San Diego. But one apartment complex is hoping to change that. ABC 10News got exclusive access to San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria's first tour of the Zephyr Apartments.

San Diego was supposed to be a new start for Army veteran Brent Choney.

"I met somebody online, dated them online for a year. She said, 'Come on down and we can get a place to live together,'" Choney said.

But she never showed. Choney squatted at the airport, then stayed at the shelter at the San Diego Convention Center.

Then there's Navy veteran David Osteen from Chula Vista.

"I lost my truck, my house. I lost my everything because of alcohol," Osteen sighed.

For years, he lived under a tree in the Midway District. But they do not want you to feel sorry for them.

"A lot of times, when we look at unsheltered people, we get pessimistic and think that there is no solution. There is no way to fix this. This is just the way things have to be. I want to encourage San Diegans to reject that. That is not true," Mayor Todd Gloria said.

ABC 10News got exclusive access to Gloria's first tour of Zephyr, an apartment complex in the Grantville area made for formerly homeless veterans. The former Motel 8 now safely houses 84 vets, who get supportive services through PATH, or People Assisting The Homeless.

"They're finally able to get health services. They're able to stay warm and have a roof over their head at night," PATH Chief Regional Officer Jonathan Castillo said.

The facility is equipped with gated security and has a community garden where residents can grow and have free access to fresh vegetables and herbs. Having an address meant Osteen can now get Amazon packages delivered.

"What's in this one?" he happily looked in an Amazon groceries bag. "A steak! I'm going to cook the hell out of that."

Osteen said he now lives a life with dignity.

Mayor Gloria said he hopes to use Zephyr as a model to create similar projects for the homeless in San Diego.

"Whether it's the dollars from Governor Newsom or in the Build Back Better Act where there is literally billions of dollars from for more affordable housing in our country, we have the opportunity to grab those dollars, bring them to San Diego, and create more opportunities like this one. We can solve this problem," Gloria said.

According to the San Diego Housing Commission, the Zephyr development cost just over $27 million.