Monday, December 22, 2008
San Diego’s Winter Shelters are doing their best to help the homeless, even if they don’t have enough room to offer everyone a bed. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.
The city of San Diego’s winter shelter for homeless adults has beds for 225 people.They were all filled from the day the sprung structure tent opened.
Bob McElroy of the Alpha Project which runs the shelter, says there’s always a waiting list. He says even people who chose to fend for themselves come for help when it gets wet and cold.
McElroy : Every night we’ve got a hundred or so people standing outside hoping to capture a bed. But we’ve given out literally thousands of sheets of plastic that people can use for cover, and for their encampments. Also plastic trash bags work great as parkas and they are great insulators… you know there are literally thousands of people out there in the canyons and under freeway bridges
In North County, the regional shelter network (239 beds) is trying not to turn anyone away. The shelters only offer beds to those willing to be drug and alcohol free, so asking for a bed is often a sign of progress.
The shelters offer many support services, and organizers say hundreds of people who pass through get enough help to find more permanent housing. Alison St John, KPBS news