San Diego City Council approves funding plan for temporary homeless tents

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego City Council leaders Tuesday voted to approve a plan to fund three temporary housing shelters for the city's homeless.

Council leaders voted 8-1 to approve the plan. Councilman David Alvarez was the only "no" vote.

The largest shelter at 16th and Newton is scheduled to open by Dec. 1. The other two will open later in the month.

The San Diego Housing Commission's plan will pour $6.5 million into three temporary bridge shelters currently under construction in San Diego, capable of providing shelter and support services to about 700 homeless individuals, according to City News Service.

RELATED: San Diego business leaders want giant tents to house the homeless

The shelters are being installed at:

  • 14th and Commercial Streets in East Village (in the parking lot of Father Joe's Villages campus)
  • 16th Street and Newton Avenue near Barrio Logan (in a vacated street)
  • 2700 block of Sports Arena Boulevard in the Midway District (in a vacant lot behind the Goodwill store)

The shelters will provide meals, bathroom and shower facilities, beds, job search assistance, and alcohol and drug treatment to homeless individuals.

Mayor Faulconer says the average stay will be 120 days to transition from shelter to permanent housing. He says the tents will remain open as long as they are needed and the effectiveness will be assessed regularly.

One of the plan's goals is to ensure 65 percent of program participants who leave exit to more permanent housing.

Following the vote, Councilmember Chris Ward said the project is integral as a solution to solving the city's homeless crisis in the long-term

RELATED: City of San Diego sets up temporary camp for homeless

"I believe these programs have clear, trackable expectations to ensure that we get the most impact out of every single dollar we invest in addressing homelessness," Ward said in a release. "Our action today reflects a balanced approach to address the immediate public health crisis going forward, and ensure we are making changes to the system so that we’re no longer just managing homelessness, we are taking positive steps to address the crisis."

Deacon Jim Vargas, of Father Joe's Villages, issued a statement following the plan's approval, applauding the council's while saying they will focus on a permanent solution.

"While we host this temporary shelter at our parking lot site over the next year, we will continue to work toward the long-term solutions our community needs to address homelessness. Father Joe’s Villages will simultaneously operate this shelter and move forward with its plan to use the 14th and Commercial location for affordable housing dedicated to people overcoming homelessness. Father Joe’s Villages will break ground on the permanent supportive housing at 14th and Commercial after the shelter contract ends as part of Turning the Key, our initiative to address the largest barrier to solving homelessness in our region – a lack of permanent affordable housing."

RELATED: San Diego program to provide safe parking for homeless living in vehicles

Peter Seidler, managing partner of the San Diego Padres, and a local charity have already contributed nearly $1.5 million to cover funding for two of the tents.

San Diego's Board of Supervisors Tuesday also approved $500,000 in rental assistance for homeless individuals in the city's unincorporated areas, according to CNS.

The plan will redirect money from the federal HOME Investment Partnership toward two years of rental assistance for the homeless. It's estimated that about 100 people in 60 households will be eligible to receive the assistance.

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