Potential Sites for Homeless Storage Facilities Presented to City Council

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The storage building that would hold homeless individuals’ valuables. Image from Google Maps

The San Diego City Council’s Rules Committee on Tuesday received 10 prospective locations for transitional storage facilities for homeless individuals.

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The city’s first transitional storage center opened in March in Sherman Heights. The facility is intended to allow homeless individuals a resource to work toward self-sufficiency and permanent housing, though some residents feared it would grow an already sizable homeless population in the neighborhood and lead to additional quality-of-life issues.

As of Monday, 127 of the facility’s 500 bins are in use, said Jonathan Herrera with Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office.

City Councilman Chris Ward said the need for additional storage facilities and other homelessness services isn’t limited to downtown or Sherman Heights, but extends citywide.

“We know outreach coupled with services and a full continuum of care based on housing-first principles will end someone’s homelessness,” he said. “…With the shelter and housing crisis existing in San Diego, we need a do-whatever-it-takes mentality, so I think this is a really good start.”

Some of the proposed locations, several of which are undeveloped, would allow for additional services or possible partnership with an affordable housing developer, Ward said.

Ward’s office identified two potential locations in District 3, including Golden Hall and the former site of Downtown Johnny Brown’s sports bar, both located downtown at Civic Center Plaza.

A 12-acre undeveloped city-owned parcel at 10435 Sorrento Valley Road in Torrey Pines was also proposed, as well as the 3350 La Jolla Village Drive building operated by the VA San Diego Healthcare System. City Councilwoman Barbara Bry proposed potentially partnering with the VA on a storage center at the facility.

City Councilman Chris Cate recommended several city-owned Kearny Mesa locations, including a three-acre section of unimproved land at Convoy Street and Copley Park Place. The other, a 23-acre plot at 5748 Copley Drive, is pegged as a potential joint police and fire department operation center.

City Councilman David Alvarez also suggested the former Chargers practice facility at 4020 Murphy Canyon Road in Kearny Mesa. Existing bathrooms and showers could possibly allow the facility to serve as a temporary shelter, he said.

Alvarez also requested that the former downtown Central Library building at 820 E St. be considered.

City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez recommended the Wesley United Methodist Church parking lot at 5380 El Cajon Blvd. The church already provides homelessness services several days per week. Another location, less ideal — according to her office — could be the Mid-City Gym parking lot at 43rd and Landis streets.

No recommendations were made by the offices of City Council members Lorie Zapf, Myrtle Cole, Mark Kersey and Scott Sherman. Kersey’s office said there are “practical limitations” to establishing a storage center in District 5, but his office is working on other homelessness programs.

Tuesday’s presentation was informational, so no action was taken. There likely will be further analysis of potential storage center locations.

City News Service

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