San Diego continues negotiations for 1,000-bed shelter

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California Construction News staff writer

San Diego City Council is continuing negotiations to bring a 1,000-bed shelter to Middletown after concerns raised by the city’s Independent Budget Analyst about the proposed lease put the original plan on hold.

In a press conference announcing the shelter in April, Mayor Todd Gloria said the project will be “a game-changer” for the city.

Gloria’s plan, if approved by city council, would convert a vacant 65,000-square foot warehouse located at the intersection of Kettner Boulevard and Vine Street north of downtown into a shelter. Improvements will include adding showers and additional restrooms, a commercial kitchen, laundry facilities and dining and recreation areas.

Gloria issued a statement regarding ongoing negotiations last week:

“Negotiations surrounding such a large and ambitious proposal are complex. This cannot be accomplished overnight, but we are on track, and I am fully committed to getting this done,” he said. “While we have made great strides to address the homelessness crisis, both from a prevention standpoint and a dramatic expansion of shelter options, the fact is, there are too many people who still face the dangers of living in unsafe encampments. We must continue to act with urgency to bring people in off the street.”

Actions to date include:

  • Expanded street outreach
  • More than doubled the number of options unsheltered San Diegans have to get off the streets
  • Expanded the Safe Parking Program
  • Launched a Safe Sleeping Program at two sites
  • Passed a Tenant Protection Ordinance to help people at risk of eviction remain in their homes
  • Created a legal-assistance fund for people at risk of eviction
  • Taken numerous actions to spur the production of affordable housing:
  • Two Housing Action Packages to make it easier to build affordable housing
  • Bridge to Home, an initiative to help affordable housing builders with gap-financing assistance
  • An executive order requiring the City to speed up permitting of affordable housing

“We have an opportunity to do just that with the addition of 1,000 beds at a new long-term shelter that could operate like the Operation Shelter to Home program we housed at the convention center, with a wide array of wrap-around supportive services, during the pandemic. Such a facility would go hand-in-hand with our work to prevent more people from falling into homelessness, build more affordable housing and expand behavioral health treatment options,” Gloria said.

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