Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The San Diego City Council will decide today whether to spend $250,000 out of a $5.5 million budget surplus to keep the 150-bed veterans emergency shelter open until July 7.
The shelter, on Sports Arena Boulevard, was scheduled to close on April 8, but got a last-minute reprieve from Mayor Bob Filner who said he would try to find a way to keep the shelter open. It's one of two the city funds during the cold weather months.
The issue of extending the veterans shelter came up in March after the mayor and city council announced a plan to spend $300,000 to keep the city’s general population 220-bed winter shelter in Barrio Logan open for an additional three months. That shelter had been scheduled to close on April 1.
David Ross, an advocate for the homeless known as "Waterman Dave," recently told KPBS if the shelter closes, the veterans will lose a lifeline.
"They would all be under the bridges, under the underpasses, downtown in America’s finest city under the Imperial Bridge, or the commercial street bridge because they have no alternative," said Ross.
The veterans shelter is operated by the Veterans Village of San Diego and funded by $440,000 city and federal dollars. The shelter provides beds, meals, mental health counseling, employment assistance, housing services and medical referrals.