Plan to turn San Diego’s Old Central Library into affordable housing expected this fall

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California Construction News staff writer

San Diego’s Old Central Library will no longer operate as a homeless shelter, but plans to transform it into affordable housing could be presented this fall. The shelter closed yesterday (July 23).

“We opened the temporary shelter at the Old Central Library this past January to get vulnerable women safely off the street and put on a path to housing,” Mayor Todd Gloria said in a statement. “With our 180-day permit expiring, we will be closing the shelter on July 23 with plans to reopen it in six months with a new 180-day permit.

“When we opened the shelter, I indicated that our long-term plan for the property was to transform it into shelter and affordable housing, and that’s precisely what we intend to do. I will be bringing a proposal to the city council this fall.”

“I want to thank the National Alliance on Mental Illness San Diego, the operator of the shelter, for their partnership in our efforts to address homelessness in Downtown. NAMI will continue to help us connect people living in Downtown encampments to permanent housing.”

Through April 30, 2023, the shelter served 105 women – 49 were at least 55 years old, 45 were women of color and 40 were survivors of domestic violence. Twenty-two women left the shelter to temporary or permanent homes. Additional data from May through July will be available in the coming weeks.

The temporary permit allowing the library to be used as overnight shelter is limited to 180 days within a 12-month period. To continue the use of the structure for overnight shelter would require a change of use.

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