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SD Homeless Shelter Takes Step Forward

Audio

Aired 7/15/10

Supporters of a proposed downtown San Diego homeless shelter made some headway yesterday Wednesday.

— Supporters of a proposed downtown San Diego homeless shelter made some headway Wednesday.

The council’s Land Use and Housing Committee voted 3 to 1 to send the issue to the full council. The homeless shelter would be located on Sixth Avenue in the World Trade Center Building. It would include 223 beds, a medical clinic and social services.

Opponents of the project say it shouldn’t be located in the heart of downtown’s financial district.

The non-profit agency PATH would run the shelter. The agency says 300 people sleep on the streets around the Trade Center. But William Mitchell, a homeless man living in San Diego, said the shelter wouldn’t change that.

“Once you get those 300 people out of the downtown area. There’s gonna be another 300 more to go right there. You’re not solving the problem. You’re putting a band-aide on the problem,” he said.

But supporters of the project said the shelter isn’t meant to end homelessness in San Diego, it’s meant to be a first step. District 3 Councilman Todd Gloria said he knows more shelters will have to be built in other parts of town.

“When proven successful, not if, but when this is proven successful, there will be an obligation to site similar projects throughout our community," he said. "And I’m the first to admit that my council district has a very substantial homeless problem."

Next, the full council must allow the city’s redevelopment agency to negotiate with shelter developers. PATH is hoping to get final approval for the project next March. If it does, the shelter could open in December of 2012.

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