Plans move forward for homeless shelters downtown

Posted at 9:15 PM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-28 00:16:36-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Plans are moving forward in San Diego's fight against the deadly Hepatitis A outbreak. Work is being done to move 400 homeless people to a giant tent downtown. It's just one of the proposals set after 17 people have died. 

A new shelter for the homeless is getting closer to becoming a reality on 16th Street and Newton Avenue. Bob McElroy heads The Alpha Project which works with the city to find solutions to combat Hepatitis A. 

It will be one of three tents designed to house those displaced throughout the city. The shelter will hold up to 400 people and their pets -- free of the disease. 

"They'll start the recovery process here," said McElroy. They'll have all the medical services, tirage, and assessment. Housing navigators, psychiatric case managers, dogs and cats, a veterinarian, all kinds of good stuff."

In order to get in you must be vaccinated or have blood work to prove you aren't infected. 

"If I have to sit there and hold their hand while they get a shot than that's what we'll do," said McElroy. "We gotta stop this. Too many people are dying."

Recent encampment sweeps have forced some people out of areas in East Village known for holding a large homeless population. 

"A lot of folks are on the margins, pushed into neighborhoods, some probably in the riverbed. We'll find them, and we'll let them know as soon as possible that we're gonna get them inside."

The tent on 16th street is set to be up and running by Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Mayor Kevin Faulconer proposed another plan to target a clean up of the San Diego River to clear the disease. Permits for that plan are awaiting approval.