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S.D. City Council Reacting Cautiously to Father Joe's Permanent Shelter Plan

San Diego city officials are reacting cautiously to Father Joe Carroll's announcement that his board has invested $7 million in land that he says would be ideal for a permanent emergency shelter for t

S.D. City Council Reacting Cautiously to Father Joe's Permanent Shelter Plan

San Diego city officials are reacting cautiously to Father Joe Carroll's announcement that his board has invested $7 million in land that he says would be ideal for a permanent emergency shelter for the homeless. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

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Father Joe's Villages may have a plot of downtown land to offer, but San Diego city councilman Kevin Faulconer says there are a lot of questions to answer before a site is chosen .

Faulconer: I think its important for us to have a variety of different locations to be considered.  

Faulconer says it's not clear yet what kind of a permanent emergency facility is needed downtown. Should it be a homeless shelter with beds or a sort of triage center -- a one-stop-shop for the homeless, the inebriated or the needy to get referrals elsewhere.

Nancy Graham of the city's downtown redevelopment agency, says the CCDC is committed to making a capital investment to help get the homeless off the streets more permanently. She says her staff is looking at several possible sites, though.

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Graham:  If somebody came forward and they already had the land, then maybe we wouldn't have to spend the money on the land, we could help towards the facility.

But both Graham and Councilman Faulconer say it's important to work not just with one agency like Father Joe's Villages, but get buy-in from social services agencies around San Diego to make a central emergency facility work

Faulconer: Because you have a lot of people particularly in downtown but also in other parts of San Diego that have invested a lot of time and energy , have some very creative ideas and solutions, and I think its time for us to put some of these solutions into action.

Faulconer has convened a task force that starts meeting this month to explore possibilities.

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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