SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A recently transformed motel in the Egger Highlands community is now housing homeless families during the pandemic.
The city started plans to transform a former Super 8 motel into transitional housing to help people in a drug and alcohol diversion program, called S.M.A.R.T.
However, the city officials say the pandemic created a more significant need to house homeless families. The Convention Center was turned into a temporary shelter during the pandemic, housing individuals from the city's bridge shelters. However, the environment was not appropriate for families, said Ashley Bailey, press secretary for Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
"The transitional housing facility here on Palm Avenue was finishing construction in May, so we identified it as a potential area to expand and offer more space for families," Bailey said. "Having this facility gives families and children a place to come in, be safe, be sanitary, and get connected to services so they can get on to a better life."
Erikssa Martinez recently moved into the facility with her husband and three kids.
"It's set up like a big hotel room, its really nice, my kids are happy to be here," she said.
Martinez says the Alpha Project helped get into the facility. They had been homeless since December and had been staying with relatives, or in motels. She says she and her husband have slept in their cars on some nights, after dropping off their kids with family members.
"We've been looking forward to is having some kind of stability, where we're not stuck in our car for hours waiting where we're going to have to a place to stay at," Martinez said.
They also have access to more services, and Martinez hopes that her will be able to get into permanent housing soon.
The city plans to still use the transformed motel as transitional housing for S.M.A.R.T. when the property is no longer needed to shelter homeless families during the pandemic.