Salvation Army's efforts could take hit

Posted at 4:43 PM, May 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-24 19:43:38-04

The Salvation Army's efforts to make San Diego's streets safer could take a financial hit.

And it would be coming from the very city the organization is trying to help. 

The Salvation Army currently helps 130 people at a time go through drug and alcohol rehab. 

Linet Carlo is a recent grad.

"I was doing drugs, alcohol, I was in and out of jail," she said. 

But instead of going back to meth, she went to rehab at the Salvation Army. Her life is now totally different. 

"I got here, there was so much love and I felt peace," Carlo said. 

Salvation Army Major Henry Graciani said rehab costs the organization $5,000 per person per month. That's also how much it roughly generates each month by selling donated cars at its lot on 13th and Broadway.

But the Salvation Army has until June 6 to be off the lot because Civic San Diego is terminating its month-to-month lease. The organization has been using it since 2007. Civic San Diego instead plans to lease it to an urban farm to revitalize the neighborhood.

"We're looking for rental properties, but we're finding it very challenging to find it for the same value the city has rented it to us," he said.

The Salvation Army pays $2,500 a month in rent. It received a one month-long extension, but Civic San Diego declined a request for another. The urban farm, called Humane Smarts, would pay $2,200 a month in rent until the land is ultimately redeveloped into affordable housing and a fire station.

Reese Jarrett, president of Civic San Diego, said the agency is willing to work with the Salvation Army, but that it has already made accommodations.

"Sometimes that revitalization, which I really am eager to promote, is getting these sites to have some activated and interim uses," Jarrett said. 

Graciani said the Salvation Army could try to use other sites to offload the donated cars.

The lot means something to Carlo. She bought her very first car there after completing rehab, a 2001 Ford Focus. It's a purchase that could have opened more than just a car door.