Originally published March 10, 2011 at 6 a.m., updated March 10, 2011 at 2:54 p.m.
SAN DIEGO The programs include everything from the Neil Good Day Center for the homeless to needle exchange programs to senior citizen centers. They had all applied for federal grant money dispensed through the city council.
San Diego officials estimate they could receive up to 25 percent less funding this year compared to last year. Councilman Todd Gloria said it’s not about projects being unworthy.
"Fact is that we’re dealing with roughly three times the amount of requests for the money we have available," he said. "And I know that there are very, very few projects or applicants that I would not want to fund."
Only 15 percent of the federal grant money being allocated can go toward services. The rest has to go toward bricks and mortar projects.
Gloria did request that city staff try to find another funding source for the Neil Good Day Center, which serves about 400 homeless people a day. The center provides the homeless a place to go during the day. People can get counseling, receive their mail or take a shower. It relies on $500,000 in annual federal grants to operate. But none of the city’s eight council members recommended allocating funds for the day center. That means it may close in July if another funding source isn't found.
Homeless advocate David Ross said closing the center would be damaging for San Diego.
“It would be disastrous, insensitive and unconscionable for us, or anybody, to consider shutting this facility down for people who have absolutely nowhere to go during the day," he said.
If the center closes, Ross said homeless people will flood East Village and Barrio Logan during the day.The Neil Good center has been operating for 20 years.
Council members have indicated they do want to fund other homeless facilities, including a planned permanent shelter. The Alpha Project, the Cortez Family Center and the police department’s Homeless Outreach Team have also been chosen to receive money. The council will make its final decision on the grants later this month.