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San Diego Council Approves Money For Downtown Homeless Shelter

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Aired 3/1/11

It’s been an unusually cold, wet winter on the streets of San Diego. That makes recent progress on a permanent homeless shelter in downtown welcome news.

— San Diego has long been criticized for lacking a permanent homeless shelter. But that could change. The city council has approved financing for a $32 million shelter on 6th Ave. between A and B streets. The one-stop shop facility will be located inside the World Trade Center building and will provide permanent and temporary housing, a medical clinic and other services.

Councilman Todd Gloria said the 223 bed shelter is a step toward ending homelessness in San Diego.

“I think if you look at what’s happened in Times Square and other communities across this country, with concerted effort, with focus and discipline and with some wisdom, we’re capable of doing that,” he said.

A recent count found about 1,000 people living on the downtown streets. Councilman Kevin Faulconer represents downtown. He said he’s confident the 223 bed shelter will fit into the neighborhood.

“I would not be moving forward today if I was not satisfied with all the outreach and work with both residents, businesses and other stakeholders in downtown San Diego,” he said.

Faulconer said the project could not have been built without the city’s redevelopment agency, which is providing half of the money. The San Diego Housing Commission will provide about $2 million. Developers are hoping federal tax credits will be awarded to cover the rest.

The project could be canceled if the governor succeeds in eliminating redevelopment agencies. But local development officials believe the shelter will stand. If everything goes according to schedule it could be open by December 2012.

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