SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) — During the State of San Diego County address Tuesday night, Board of Supervisors chairman Nathan Fletcher announced changes to tackle the county’s longtime issue with homelessness, among them, the addition of a tent shelter added to the Midway District.
“We will be placing a shelter donated by the Lucky Duck Foundation on county-owned land in the City of San Diego. By July, we will have this new 150-bed shelter open in the Midway area in partnership with the City of San Diego and the local community,” said Fletcher.
A spokesperson for his office tells ABC 10News the tent shelter will go up on the campus where the County’s psychiatric hospital is located, off of Rosecrans Street
“I want to see them off the street, and I want to see them get jobs,” said Jamie Weis, who works in a warehouse off of Pacific Hwy near Sports Arena Blvd.
Though dozens of people could be seen living on the streets Wednesday, Weis said the area, in general, was slightly better after city crews came through Sports Arena Blvd to clean in February.
“I was afraid sometimes with these people out on the street I was afraid cars were going to hit them because they’d be having tents out on the street,” he said.
Weis said he supports the addition of a tent shelter and hopes those living on the streets are open to receiving help.
“It’s good, they’ll have a place to sleep, food, shelter, medicine if they need it, I think that's going to help a lot,” said Weis.
The Lucky Duck Foundation has provided tents to help house hundreds of unsheltered people in the past, including in the Midway District.
The foundation’s executive director, Drew Moser, said the goal is to get immediate help to those in need.
“It's a needed location, this structure actually used to serve the Midway District, so we're excited to make this asset available again in that area as there's far too many people in that region suffering on the street,” said Moser. “We're poised and ready to do more of these types of strategies whether it's a bridge shelter or converting an underutilized government property.”
In a statement to ABC 10News, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said "Addressing homelessness requires us to increase the number of shelter beds to get folks off the street now, which has been my sharp focus. This new shelter is a partnership between the City, County, and the Lucky Duck Foundation that will bring on as many as 150 new shelter beds and connect those individuals to the services and healthcare they need. Our shelter network is nearly at full capacity on a daily basis and this agreement means an additional 150 people experiencing homelessness will be able to come off the street.”
Tuesday, Fletcher also announced new initiatives to help support cities within the county when it comes to providing immediate homeless support services.
“I am announcing our county government is providing all 18 cities in San Diego, a standard agreement to rapidly open homelessness and support sites without delay,” said Fletcher. “You provide the structure, and your county government will be here to provide the behavioral health services.”
Fletcher said $10 million in grants would be available to help cities kick start their efforts.