Wednesday, November 3, 2010
After weeks of gridlock, the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to locate it’s winter homeless shelter in Barrio Logan. Today’s move was a reversal of last month's vote to consider housing the homeless in Golden Hall, located on the City Hall concourse.
SAN DIEGO After weeks of gridlock, the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to locate it’s winter homeless shelter in Barrio Logan. The shelter will be located in a building that once housed the San Diego Housing Commission.
Today’s move was a reversal of last month’s vote to consider housing the homeless in Golden Hall, located on the City Hall concourse. Having a homeless shelter there would have meant canceling events that were already scheduled to take place in Golden Hall. Converting the building for shelter use would have also more than doubled the cost of the winter shelter.
The proposal to put the shelter in Barrio Logan bothered Ben Hueso, the councilman who represents the area. He said he wanted assurances that police would provide enough security in the area, which includes an elementary school.
“We have parents who walk their children to school,” said Hueso, “and it becomes a deterrent for them to follow the safest routes. They’re not going to use them because they’re afraid for their lives for good concern.”
In the end, Hueso was satisfied by assurances from police and he did not oppose the location. Hueso is the City Council president but he’ll be leaving the post, having just been elected to the California Legislature.
The San Diego City Council heard from many homeless people who spoke emotionally about the need for a shelter. Cricket Bradburn, who said she has been homeless, spoke to the council about the danger of living on the streets.
“You have to make a decision, and soon. Or more people are going to die, and I’m going to be wearing black more often,” she said.
Typically, San Diego erects a tent structure to provide temporary shelter for the homeless in winter. Efforts to find a permanent shelter site have been unsuccessful, and that was the case this year as well.
The winter shelter’s new location on Newton Avenue in Barrio Logan will last only one season. Next year, the building is expected to be converted for use by the Monarch School. Coincidentally, the Monarch School is focused on educating homeless children.