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Housing The Homeless During The Winter

Your browser does not support this object. View the original here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TabSFiIQIXQ

Video published September 24, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: There are more 4,500 homeless people living on the streets in the city of San Diego. The battle over where to put San Diego's temporary winter homeless shelter ran into refrain this week.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

THE BATTLE OVER WHERE TO PUT SAN DIEGO'S TEMPORARY WINTER HOMELESS SHELTER RAN INTO A FAMILIAR REFRAIN THIS WEEK. NOT IN MY BACKYARD WAS WHAT SOME DOWNTOWN EAST VILLAGE RESIDENTS SAID BEFORE THE CITY COUNCIL VOTE TO PUT OFF THE DECISION. THERE ARE MORE THAN 4500 HOMELESS PEOPLE LIVING ON THE STREETS IN THE CITY OF SAN DIEGO. JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT IT --HOW TO CARE FOR THE HOMELESS DURING THE COLDEST MONTHS OF THE YEAR --ARE TODD GLORIA AND DAVID HAZEN, CHAIRMAN OF THE EAST VILLAGE ASSOCIATION. WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU.

THANK YOU, GLORIA.

LET'S START WITH YOU, COUNCILMAN. WHAT IS THE SITE OF THE HOMELESS SHELTER?

A CITY-OWNED PARCEL IN EAST VILLAGE BOUNDED BY 13th, 145TH, F AND G STREETS, MORE OR LESS READY TO GO WITH A FEW SMALL THINGS INCLUDING UTILITY AND POWER. IT'S THERE AND WE NEED TO MAKE A DECISION AND I THINK IT'S A REASONABLE PLACE TO PLACE.

WHY WAS THAT PARTICULAR SITE RECOMMENDED?

WE LEAKED AT LOCATION THAT HAVE BEEN USE IN THE PAST AND LOCATION THAT HAVEN'T BEEN USE IN THE PAST AND THIS ONE IS OWNED BY THE PUBLIC SO WE DON'T HAVE TO NEGOTIATE WITH A PROPERTY OWNER. ADDITIONALLY, YOU KNOW, IT'S WHERE THE NEED IS. YOU MENTIONED 4500 HOMELESS PEOPLE IN THE COUNTY. I PARTICIPATE IN AN EFFORT TO REGISTER THE HOMELESS DOWNTOWN AND WE CONTACTED 1040 PEOPLE ON THE STREETS OF DOWNTOWN THIS WEEK. SO WE KNOW THAT THE LION'S SHARE OF THE POPULATION ARE THERE AND THE SERVICES ARE THERE SO WE NEED TO PLACE IT DOWNTOWN AND THIS SEEMS LIKE A REASONABLE SITE TO DO THAT.

SO THAT'S YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, DAVID

IT'S OUR NEIGHBORHOOD.

WHY ARE YOU OPPOSED TO IT?

FIRST OF ALL, YOU SAID WE HAVE A ANYMORE BY ATTITUDE. LET ME PUT IT TO YOU. WE DON'T HAVE A NIMBY ATTITUDE. WE HAVE WORK WITH THE HOUSING COMMISSION AND OTHERS TO FIND AN ALTERNATIVE SITE. WE HAVE A NOT IN OUR FRONT YARD ATTITUDE. IT'S WHERE THE 94 EXITS AND ENTER. 20,000 CARS ARE THERE EACH DAY AND THAT'S A HORRIBLE MARQUEE AND WE'RE TRYING TO ENCOURAGE DEVELOPMENT PEOPLE TO COME DOWN AND USE THE SERVICE THAT WE HAVE THERE SO WE THINK THAT'S ONE ISSUE.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT FOR A SECOND. SO BASICALLY WHAT YOU'RE SAYING IS THAT LOUD LOWER PROPERTY VALUES OR THE INTEREST IN REAL ESTATE IN THAT AREA.

WE BELIEVE WOULD HAVE HAVE AN IMPACT, YES. IF YOU LOOK AT LAST YEAR'S SITE, ONCE THEY MOVED OFF THAT SITE, IT HAS STILL BECOME A MAGNET FOR THE HOMELESS. THEY HAVE GONE THERE, IT BECOMES HABIT WAIT AND WE CERTAINLY DON'T WANT TO SEE IT ON 13th STREET, EITHER.

THAT'S A REAL CONCERN. I MEAN, FOR THE PEOPLE WHO OWN AND LIVE IN THAT AREA. HOW DO YOU RESPOND?

IT IS AN ISSUE. HE RAISES POINT ABOUT FOLKS COME IN AND OUT OF DOWNTOWN PAST THIS SITE. BUT I WOULD SUGGEST THAT PEOPLE COME IN AND OUT OF DOWNTOWN TODAY ARE SEEING PEOPLE ENCAMPED ON THE SIDEWALKS ALONG THE STREET. THEY'RE ALREADY THERE AND WILL PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY --WE SERVE ABOUT 800 PEOPLE OVER THE COURSE OF THE WINTER SHELTER IN DOWNTOWN --OVER THE COURSE OF THE WINTER MONTHS. THIS WOULD TAKE 800 PEOPLE OFF THE STREET AND GET THEM BACK INTO THE CONTINUUM TO PUT THEM IN SUITABLE HOUSING. IT'S WHERE THE NEED IS. IF WE SAW THE LION'S SHARE OF THAT --OVER 1,000 OF THE 4,000 ON THE STREET --IN ANOTHER COMMUNITY, WE WOULD PROBABLY PLACE IT THERE.

THE SHELTER NEEDS TO BE LOCATE ENTERED.

IT ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO BE LOCATED SOMEWHERE.

WHAT'S YOUR RECOMMENDATION?

WE HAD A NUMBER OF RECOMMENDATIONS REJECTED FOR WHATEVER REASONS. THEY DIDN'T MEET THE CRITERIA. YOU NEED A FAIRABLE BIG-SIZED LOT. ONE THING WE MAY WANT TO CONSIDER --IT COSTS MONEY, I'LL GRANT YOU THAT --HAVING SMALLER TENTS AND PLACING THEM IN DIFFERENT LOCATIONS SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE THE FULL CITY BLOCK TO ACCOMMODATE THEM. JUST TO ADDRESS ONE MATTER AS FAR AS THE SERVICES ARE CONCERNED --YES, THERE ARE A LOT OF SERVICES IN THE EAST VILLAGE AREA.

MEANING WHAT?

SOCIAL SERVICES THAT THESE FOLKS CAN AVAIL THEMSELVES OF. A LOT OF THE SERVICES ARE BROUGHT TO THE TENT, THOUGH. THESE FOLKS ARE NOT TRAVELING OUT TO GET THEM. I UNDERSTAND THE MAJORITY OF THE SERVICES COME TO THE TENT SO TO USE THAT AS AN ARGUMENT IS EXPERIENCE AT THIS POINT.

WHAT ABOUT THAT? I MEAN, SERVICES COMING TO THE TENT --WHAT DOES IT MATTER THE TENT IS?

THERE ARE SERVICES ON-SITE BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE HOUSED THERE BUT THE REALITY IS --THE DAY CENTER, FAMILY HEALTH CENTERS, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION --ARE DOWNTOWN, TRANSIT ACCESSIBLE AND WHERE THOSE ARE. IT WOULD BE INAPPROPRIATE, I THINK, TO ASK 800 PEOPLE HOMELESS PEOPLE TO COME FROM ONE PART OF THE CITY --SAY MISSION VALLEY, HILL CREST -- TO TRANSIT TO THE SERVICES THERE. WE PROVIDE --THE SHELTER, JUST AN EXAMPLE --DOES NOT PROVIDE A LUNCH WHEN IT'S OPEN. THEY HAVE TO GO SOMEWHERE TO EAT AND GO CURRENTLY TO ST. VINCENT DePAUL. IF YOU PLACE THE SHELTER ELSEWHERE AND NOT PROVIDE LUNCH, THEY WILL GO BACK AND FORTH. WE WANT TO PUT IT WHERE THE SERVICES ARE AND WHERE THE POPULATION IS.

WHAT ABOUT THE IDEA THAT DAVID PROPOSED THAT YOU HAVE SMALL TENTS SCATTERED THROUGHOUT THE CITY TO TAKE CARE OF THE HOMELESS POPULATION AND THEN YOU ARRANGE FOR THE LUNCH SERVICES?

WELL, THAT'S REASONABLE BUT ONE OF THE THINGS WE HAVE TO LOOK AT IS COST AND THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THE CITY DOESN'T PAY FOR THE BUY COST OF THE WINTER TENT SYSTEM. OUR TWO PROVIDERS --VETERAN'S VILLAGE OF SAN DIEGO WITH THE VETERAN'S TENT IN THE MIDWAY AREA AND ALPHA PROJECT DOING THE DOWNTOWN ONE --HAVE TO RAISE MONEY TO PROVIDE THIS SERVICE SO TO ASK THEM TO DISPERSE THE SERVICE INCREASE THE COST. TODAY IT'S $12 A DAY TO TAKE CARE OF A HOMELESS PERSON IN THE SYSTEM. THERE'S NO CHEAPER OR EFFICIENT WAY TO HANDLE THE NEEDS OF INDIVIDUALS FOR LESS THAN $12 SO WE HAVE TO BE MINDFUL OF THE DOLLARS AND WHAT WE HAVE IS AN EFFICIENT, TAX-FRIENDLY APPROACH.

TEN SECOND LEFT. YOU HAVE HEARD OF OBJECTIONS. WHAT'S THE ANSWER.

THE ANSWER IS TO LOOK AT THIS THING IN A GLOBAL WAY. WE NEED TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM. NOBODY DENIES WE HAVE A MAJOR PROBLEM. THIS IS A HORRIBLE LOCATION FOR THE TENT, THOUGH, BECAUSE IT'S IN A MAJORLY-POPULATED AREA.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Comments

Avatar for user 'MARY2727'

MARY2727 | September 24, 2010 at 11:45 p.m. ― 3 years, 11 months ago

What about a retired Navy Ship?
They just sink them in the deep blue pretty wasteful and bad for our environment, You can house several hundred if not thousands of people also you can get sponsership from companies to paint there logos on it . Many Homeless are skilled and can trade work for services to build self esteem. This will save our city, clean it up , get them proper help, a win win for all of us. Then you know if they are serious about getting help if the board the ship.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'zookeeper007'

zookeeper007 | September 25, 2010 at 5:13 a.m. ― 3 years, 11 months ago

The problem here is that before nobody wanted to develop East Village, they didn't care. Now there is money to be made so the homeless have to go. The city harass them, give them no public facilities so its easy to arrest some poor pregnant woman trying to relieve herself.

One problem...if they homeles HAD somewhere to go, they would. You would not believe what these people go through. I know...last year I was one of them through no fault of my own. I am not an addict/alcaholic or mentally derranged. You would be suprised how many of the "homeless" may have been your nieghbors, co-workers or family mambers.

Making small tents and dispersing them through out the city? If the homeless had money to travel don't you think they would leave? All the city services and charity are in East Village. Back when it was the "scummy" part of San Diego they decided it was a good place, now they want to make money on it.

I have seen for myself the abuse the homeless take from the police. Look up what they did at God's Open Hands during November of last year. Thats just whats known. I see the horrible way the are treated by ALL city departments.

I am lucky. St, Vincent De Pauls gave me a chance and I have my own home, pay my bills and I LIVE in East Village happily.

KEEP THE TENT IN EAST VILLAGE FOR THEIR SAKE.

A country is judged by how it treats the less fortunate...what message as AMERICANS are we sending the world councilmen???

How about putting humans first instead of all the multi-millionare investers you and the city stand to profit from!!!

( | suggest removal )