Homeless shelter
The resident of a homeless shelter. Courtesy San Diego Housing Commission

The San Diego Housing Authority voted 8-1 Tuesday to extend three contracts for the city’s Bridge Shelter Program through June 2019.

The city of San Diego has contracts with Father Joe’s Villages, Veterans Village of San Diego and the Alpha Project for three bridge shelters that are designed to provide homeless residents shelter and necessary services while they wait to be placed in permanent housing under the city’s “Housing First” program.

The shelters are a major segment of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan for combating homelessness and serve as many as 674 homeless residents daily.

“We are less than a year into this new Bridge Shelter program and we can see more clearly now how they are helping and what we can do to make them work even better,” Faulconer said. “We all agree that getting those folks into permanent housing is the goal, but we simply don’t have enough affordable housing available.

“While we wait for those units to be built, these shelters are helping people, caring for them and treating them with respect and dignity as human beings every day.”

The Housing Authority consists of the nine members of the City Council. City Councilman David Alvarez was the lone vote against the program because he felt it doesn’t go far enough to place homeless residents in permanent housing and the city should just focus on building housing from the start.

“If we keep using the funds (for bridge shelters) that are meant to build this housing, we’re actually never going to be able to afford these projects,” Alvarez said during the Housing Authority meeting. “So this has to be incorporated into that holistic approach, whatever that becomes, and I hope at some point we actually do that.”

— City News Service

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