'Bridge-To-Housing' Plan Will Get Hundreds Of Homeless Off City Streets
In an effort to reduce the homeless population on San Diego streets and combat a regional hepatitis A outbreak that has already killed 16 people and hospitalized nearly 300, Mayor Kevin Faulconer was joined by public officials and private partners at a press conference Wednesday to announce a "bridge-to-housing" shelter plan. This plan will provide temporary housing for homeless residents in three industrial-size tents with beds to accommodate up to 250 people each. The tents will include showers, restrooms and hand-washing stations, as well as 24-hour security. The tents will be ready for occupancy by the end of the year.
“San Diegans are compassionate people who want to help solve this crisis,” Faulconer said. “Their government must channel that compassion into action.”
He said the plan offers clean and safe spaces for homeless residents until permanent housing can be provided. The tent housing is a significant expansion of the city’s homeless service network.
He identified three locations for the bridge shelter tents: the parking lot on Father Joe’s Villages campus at 14th and Commercial streets in the East Village; a vacant lot in the 2700 block of Sports Arena Boulevard in the Midway District, which will be managed by the Veterans Village of San Diego; and a vacant lot at 16th Street and Newton Avenue, operated by Alpha Project, a local nonprofit human services organization.
While this plan will remove hundreds of homeless from streets, it will not solve the region’s increasing homeless problem. The homeless count in January represented a 5% increase from the previous year, with a total of 9,116 counted, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Of that number, 5,621 were unsheltered, an increase of 14% over the previous year. Downtown’s homeless population increased by 27% from a year ago to 1,276, and the number of tents and hand-built shelters increased by 64%.