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Winter Shelter Will Go In East Village

Audio

Aired 10/14/09

The San Diego City Council has decided to keep the temporary winter homeless shelter downtown again this year. But the decision came after several hours of discussion and protest from people living in the East Village neighborhood.

Downtown San Diego's East Village was the site of the temporary winter homeless shelter in 2008-2009.
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Above: Downtown San Diego's East Village was the site of the temporary winter homeless shelter in 2008-2009.

The San Diego City Council has decided to keep the temporary winter homeless shelter downtown again this year. But the decision came after several hours of discussion and protest from people living in the East Village neighborhood.

Members of the city staff presented several options to the council about where a temporary shelter could be set up. But the discussion quickly focused on downtown. The council voted to put the shelter in the same place as last year, on the corner of 15th Street and Island Avenue near Petco Park. If that doesn’t work, the shelter will be located at 13th and F Streets. Residents of the East Village say their neighborhood already has more than its fair share of homeless. Councilman Kevin Faulconer represents the area and says homelessness isn’t just a problem downtown.

“There is a need to provide for homeless in other parts of the city. The numbers showed. The numbers demonstrated that. So to keep putting the tent over and over in the same neighborhood is not something I can support,” he says.

Faulconer was joined by Councilman Ben Hueso in voting against the East Village location. But the man who will run the shelter says downtown is the right place for it. Bob McElroy is President on the Alpha Project. He says it makes sense to put the shelter where the homeless can get help.

“We went down and did a poll with the people we do outreach to. Their medical appointments are downtown. The congregate food missions are downtown,” he says.

Many of the council members also stressed the need for a permanent homeless shelter in the city. Work is moving forward on that project.

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