City officials announced plans Tuesday to set up a permanent shelter for up to 350 homeless individuals and veterans in a bid to “end the cycle of homelessness.”
“Every winter, the city struggles to find a place to shelter the homeless,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who was joined by Council President Todd Gloria and Councilman David Alvarez at a news conference. He said the city needed to “move away from just providing a bed for a few months” during the winter.
“We’re trying to make a real difference by providing supportive services that help our fellow San Diegans get off the streets for good,” Faulconer said.
For this winter, the city will continue the operate temporary shelters in Barrio Logan and the Midway district.
The city is seeking immediate proposals from nonprofit social-service organizations to operate the permanent shelter. He said $1.6 million annually that was used for temporary facilities would be allocated for operating a permanent facility.
The commission is looking for an existing structure, and all locations will be considered. “We’re doing an honest market search,” said Richard Gentry, president and CEO of the housing commission.
Councilman David Alvarez, who represents Barrio Logan where a temporary shelter has been erected annually, called the tents “a crutch” and said the community welcomes a permanent solution. “People in the community are compassionate, but we want to see it get resolved.” he said.
Council President Todd Gloria said the permanent structure is an attempt to “end the cycle of homelessness…What we saw year after year were the same faces.”
He said access to the permanent shelter would be by referral, ending lining up in the streets.