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San Diego to fund convention center shelter through January 2021

San Diego Homeless
Posted at 1:45 PM, Dec 18, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria says the city's convention center shelter for the homeless will be funded through at least the first month of 2021.

Gloria said in a release that he's directing staff to provide funding using money previously slated for shelter operations in November and December that wasn't spent due to cost-saving measures and other factors, as well as a state grant specifically for funding homelessness-related services.

"I am committed to protecting our homeless neighbors from COVID-19 while keeping a focus on connecting them to long-term housing," Gloria said. "A temporary extension for this shelter will allow us to serve the greatest number of people in need with daily health screenings and other COVID protections."

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Gloria added that he's proposing the city authorize more funding through March 2021, with plans to continue helping those at the shelter transition into permanent housing or into another shelter by that time.

Those financial plans could be discussed by the City Council in January.

The city's downtown convention center shelter began in April to shelter hundreds of people experiencing homelessness as the coronavirus pandemic began. Since then, the city says its Operation Shelter to Home program has helped more than 870 people and 45 families find a permanent or longer-term housing solution, with more than 200 others in the process of finding housing.

RELATED: San Diego officials say Convention Center homeless shelter helped over 1,100 find housing

Part of the program's goal was also to move people experiencing homelessness into one location where they could adequately space out and centralize staff from various city shelters during the pandemic.

This month, the shelter has seen an increase in positive COVID-19 tests as virus cases surge across the county and state. Since April, more than 11,200 coronavirus tests have been given at the shelter to residents and staff. The shelter has seen a total of 190 positive tests, including 170 residents and 20 volunteers or staff members, according to the city.

Those residents who test positive are immediately moved from the shelter to an off-site hotel managed by the county for public health use.