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San Diego City Council Approves Plan for New Homeless Shelter

People lay on beds in the winter shelter in downtown San Diego.
Ana Tintocalis/KPBS News
People lay on beds in the winter shelter in downtown San Diego.

San Diego City Council Approves Plan for New Homeless Shelter
San Diego City Council Approves Plan for New Homeless Shelter GUESTS:Richard Gentry, president and CEO, San Diego Housing CommissionMarcos Aguilera, chairman, Barrio Logan Association

This is KPBS mid-day edition. ________________________________________ The juvenile justice system apparently deals with a surprising number of child arsonists. We will hear about extra punishment and rehabilitation that works to straighten out troubled kids. City leaders say newly approved permanent homeless shelter put San Diego on better pet to deal with homeless issue. After doing the math, but it don't agree. And the excitement of preparing a space voyages captured in the film journey into space at the ribbon H Fleet science center. I mourn Kavanaugh cop a PPS mid-day edition is next. First cop the news. ________________________________________ San Diego's new permanent homeless shelter plan both strong supporters and doubtful critics. We will hear about a new film at the Rubin H speaks son centers journey to space. This is KPBS mid-day edition. ________________________________________ I am warning Kavanaugh. It's Wednesday, March 25. There are San Diego's stories following in the KPBS newsroom. I group of community of business leaders in Carson are declaring victory in their signature drive to expedite approval of a proposed stadium that could house the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland raiders. Members of Carson, together, will deliver 40 boxes of petitions to Carson City Hall this afternoon. The public is being asked to look closely at a composite sketch of a man who tried to do or a 7-year-old girl into his SUV in front of eighth Solana Beach. It happened Monday afternoon near the campus of skyline elementary. Witnesses described the man is white, about 40 years old and roughly 6 feet tall with light Brown hair. Listen for the latest news to the day right here on K bps. ________________________________________ We had intended to start are show with a discussion of arson at the juvenile justice system. One of our guests was unable to join us and we will try to bring that segment to you at a later day. Our top story on KPBS mid-day edition San Diego officials say it is a move forward in the effort to end homelessness in the city. Tuesday, city Council unanimously loosely proved to replace cities two homeless tent with permanent facility. The city we'll fund a 350 bed permanent shelter, which is presently run by St. Vincent de Paul Village. Supporters say move is part of overall city ever to change the structure of homeless outreach in San Diego by emphasizing housing 1st and transitional support. Critics find the new permanent housing idea is too limited and may end up with more homeless on the Street of San Diego. I like to introduce my guest cop Rick gentry top President and CEO of San Diego housing commission. Housing commission presented permanent shelter proposal to the Council. Rick, welcome to do so. ________________________________________ Thank you for inviting me here. ________________________________________ [Indiscernible] association which has concerns about approved plan. Marcos caught well into the show. ________________________________________ Thank you as well. ________________________________________ Rick, to be what this change means for San Diego. Does this mean there will be no more homeless tents put up downtown? ________________________________________ That's correct, Marbury. The tenth, when taken down next week well be gone. Last October, the city Council charged the housing commission with finding a permanent replacement for the winter tents, if we could at all. We have done so. The housing commission put a request for proposal on the streets in December. Was announced by Mayor fault. We received one response from St. Vincent de Paul villages in January. That response was responsive to the request for proposal specs and we recommended that proposal to the city Council yesterday. I think it is a significant step forward in that people will not be housed in tenth in the wintertime. There will be eight permanent supportive shelter with services 12 months out of the air. ________________________________________ The decision by city Council is part, as I understand it, copy of them changed in dealing with the issue of homelessness. How exactly well this permanent new facility factor into that plan? B I think important to note this shelter is not a stand-alone facility. It fits into a larger citywide system with a lot of actors involved. Generally, there are three different varieties to homeless residential services and endless variations. The three or interim housing for emergency nature, which tents have served the city for 29 years, which permanent structure will replace. Then there is transitional housing, which is designed to stabilize people for up to a couple of years. Then the permanent supportive housing. Beginning a few years You go, the thought in homeless -- homeless as a rented transition from traditional best approach to support housing being best approach. Theory being, hard for people with problems in their life to stabilize without a permanent place to lead. ________________________________________ Where is this St. Vincent de Paul facility located? ________________________________________ It's located in the lower part of East Village and it's a facility that has been there in various incarnations going back a good 40 years or more. St. Vincent has been providing wonderful services to the city over those years. St. Vincent as we'll has seen the need to shift some of the housing they provide to more fit in with an improved structure. St. Vincent -- what has made structure available to us for interim purposes is that St. Vincent shifted some of there federal funding away from transitional housing toward permanent supportive housing. We are seeing a shift citywide. ________________________________________ How many people do the winter homeless tent house? ________________________________________ 350 approximately. ________________________________________ There is the point of concern I have heard or that there are 350 bed in the St. Vincent the Szilagyi and they are presently occupied, as far as I understand. If closing the winter tents L laminates about 350 beds for the homeless and the 350 people in St. Vincent's will have to be relocated, how does this add to the resources for San Diego's homeless asked. ________________________________________ Resources makes more sense, if it will. Matter of having citywide perspective. The 350 individuals who have been served in a transitional white at St. Vincent's resources will now be used to serve equivalent number of folks for permanent supportive housing. Something that is stable and scattered throughout the community, not necessarily concentrated anywhere, including East Village. The choice would be between a permanent structure for 350 people with services 12 months out of the year versus a tent for four months out of the year, that's the choice. ________________________________________ It's still a lack of 350 beds if you are taking notes tent beds away, right? B know it's not. If you look at that part of East Village, yes. If you look citywide, no, it donated alteration and a concentration of those services, some of which will now be away from East Village. ________________________________________ Marcos called a bigot you into the conversation. What are your concerns about this new paper permanent homeless housing in San Diego? ________________________________________ The issue is not so much with St. Vincent Depaul. We do like the work that they do. Obviously, we would like to have more say in how it is performed. However, issue is exactly what you hit on its numbers don't seem to add up to us. We understand the housing first motto more than we did about 1 year ago. We've got ourselves up to speed with the discussion with the whole 25 cities initiative, etc., etc. We want to be part of the solution not hindrance to overall paradigm shift as you heard Councilman Gloria allude too. Ultimately, it's the numbers issue that would take issue with, ID 500 homeless equates to us needing around 780 approximated, based on regional care continue his own numbers, approximated interim a.k.a. interim beds is how many we need. Taking a lady 350 -- taking a lighter hundred 50 old statistic you can make numbers say whatever you want too. We don't see overall benefit. That's a huge step away from us because [Indiscernible] Logan past decade plus I've dealt with this issue. ________________________________________ That's what I was going to say they'll cop Mario. The idea of emergency with your homeless shelter opting being placed a barrio Logan as something residents weren't always happy about. Do you see this at all is a good change for the area? ________________________________________ If we were to take our approach localized and just neighborhood viewpoint, yes, get the tenth now. Holistically, literally, if you take on the map about 6 miles. Unfortunately, say but the Depaul will be 2.5 miles around the [Indiscernible] Center which does not take into [Indiscernible] counterpart about 6 miles a break. Holistic league, if having a conversation, no, we are not pleased with it. Honestly, we don't see the transition point. The housing Commissioners themselves alluded to it. Unfortunately, did not hear in the comments from Councilman yesterday, nothing about addressing transition plan. ________________________________________ When you say transition plan, are you referring to the homeless tent, to Prairie tents will shut down April one and permanent facility will not be opening until July? ________________________________________ No. We have let that argument go for the sake of our prepared we had issues with how that was done. However cop that chip SL. Transition plan specifically speaking of, giving bracketing April 1, June 30, if only 100 from St. Vincent Depaul Depaul only dealt at 150. Right now scribbling. Listen together scrambling trying to find a way to keep track of the unit case identification code to find out what actually happens to these people. There is housing navigators, case managers, downtown project, out what managers and we want to work with all of them. All of them are stakeholders in keeping track of what happens to them, once that actually closes down. ________________________________________ Right, keeping track and making sure people don't disappear, both their cracks, interrupted them being helped. ________________________________________ Rick, housing commission made a point that when they ask for proposal for permanent housing, you told us are, a that the Depaul was only one offer. What you think that is? ________________________________________ Because there's limited number of facilities out there available. Limited number of, Frankie, professionals available on vault this industry. Let me point out, as has been case for most 29 years, to that been deployed, only enough money and city budget this year to handle the tent through the end of March anyhow. Absent this new plan, the tent well be shut down next week anyway and now replace in until next winter's visit -- winter season, these of a. Defected will be shut down will happen anyway. This new plan will be 12 months out of the year. Now, with the Council decision yesterday, there will be a transition for the next three months between the tents and the St. Vincent's facilities. We will go from there about 100 beds available presently and we'll go up to the full 350 July 1. That's because Mayor Faulkner who has shown great leadership in this long with Councilman Gloria, Mayor came up with money to cover this transition time . But absent the change in programmatic approach your, to it would be shut-in a way, people will be on the streets next week with nothing until next December. ________________________________________ Rick called their estimated 662 people living unsheltered in downtown San Diego. If the permanent facility is not enough for the number of people who need services, I remember when the connections housing facility opened downtown, many people said that was San Diego's is a to homeless this and would be no more tent shelters. That did not work out because needless to great. What is likelihood that 350 beds at Saint that the Depaul won't out either? ________________________________________ We'll, I would disagree saying it will work out. If you are saying it would eliminate any homelessness on the streets, the perhaps. There are any number of needs for the homeless out there. It's going to be more than one solution to solve the problem. I was at a groundbreaking yesterday of new affordable housing project it being done Lakeland downtown Austin avenue. That particular facility is going to house out of 200 plus residents we'll house 51 homeless, formally homeless. I think what we're going to need are a lot of different resources rather than one huge one. If you look at the context within the homeless arena, in San Diego, the need for interim housing, transitional housing, supporting housing in a continual them, changing interim location from tent never designed for human habitation in the first place, 29 years into existence to a permanent structure and moving from four months out of the year to 12 months out of the year is a significant improvement. ________________________________________ Let the people went testifying yesterday, and as some city Council members, Rick, said we used it for years I can't keep you think of the that doesn't work. And since it was the tenth did not do anything to really alleviate the homeless situation in the city of San Diego. What have we learned? Whatever the Lord from doing that year after year after year? What do we now does work? ________________________________________ A coordinated intake system and evaluation of everyone who needs help. You may recall that little over a year ago, city Council appropriated money to put together a computerized coordinated intake and evaluation system, which all homelessness providers have to be a part up. Before it was random and different, depending on relative sophistication of the user of the customer what happened. Now, if someone comes into the shelter, they will have to participate in this coordinated assessment evaluation system. Then St. Vincent will look toward ultimate solution for that particular individual or family, what sort of family supportive housing would be indicated. Under the proposal under the process in effect now and will be continued with St. Vincent's, we are looking at an average of 45-day stay before moving into a more trendy disposition. I will point out average of maybe some people more or less but where are not looking towards warehousing the port anymore, warehousing the homeless, rather, looking for more permanent housing [Indiscernible], if it will. ________________________________________ Marcos your Baldwin neighborhood council to have secured a facility north of downtown that could house up to 1000 homeless people. Tell us about that. ________________________________________ Right now since it has been so reactive, not proactive like we would like, Ward able to bring a fully closed proposal to the table right now. However, I can tell you there is a site chosen. There is a private money willing to be put on the table. We just want to bring all parties involved to the table. We had a meeting yesterday before city Council with Mayor's office telling them that we really want to come with operators too [Indiscernible] even after city Council decision yesterday, the can Jim came up and was okay. ________________________________________ The head of say but the Depaul. ________________________________________ The NSA but the Depaul. Maybe this is something we can explore and if we can get together behind with that effort, the more the merrier. Strength in numbers and needs to be a collaborative effort. Can't you with all private money but with the political well and time frame right now is in the air. I think I'm all about embracing housing first model and, definitely, what Mr. Gentry's housing commission recommended. We are willing to get the -- behind that. , we also near -- need to steer the other baby in the face and say numbers are where they should be and see if we can get there. ________________________________________ What kind of response did you get from the mayor? ________________________________________ Receptive. We had him with [Indiscernible] Mayor's office. We hit them with both barrels and hit them on budgetary stats. I'll have to challenge Rick Snow on April 1 money is not there. Traditionally or historically last your money was shifted jigs averments body armor a cow. Year before that, midfielder found money and SG any lawsuit. If you make the numbers saying you can do pretty amazing things. Right now, need is there to make those. ________________________________________ What is your reaction, Rick, to idea possibility there might be another facility opening up that might be able to house a larger number of people who would alternatively be on the streets of San Diego? ________________________________________ I think it's a wonderful idea. The housing commission would be receptive to any reasonable and responsible approach. I will point out though the reason possible also includes financially sustainable over time. Even with Kurt she had, of course, not enough resources to take care of the whole problem not just earbud other cities throughout the country as well. The more resources the better. The more resources great too. Willing to talk with the folks here. I wish they have responded to the request for proposal put on this tree. I can just go to do business with someone who shows up at the door. I have to go through orderly process but if there's something here that is workable, would love to chat with him. C last Thursday to you cop Rick. When we know permanent facility at St. Vincent Depaul is filling the gap that city leaders hope it will fill? ________________________________________ We will now very quickly. I think, again, well point out with some exceptions for most of the last 29 years there has been no emergency or interim shelter between April and December. The fact that we got even 100 beds to start with the next week is already a significant. I think we will need to see what the effectiveness is on individuals and families but I think you will see a change immediately. ________________________________________ I've been speaking with Rick gentry, President and CEO San Diego housing commission and Margot [Indiscernible] Barlow association. Thank you both very much. ________________________________________ Thank you. ________________________________________ Thank you very much.

A plan to replace San Diego's annual winter tent shelters for the homeless in Barrio Logan and the Midway District with a permanent, year-round facility at St. Vincent de Paul in the East Village was unanimously approved Tuesday by the City Council.

The mayor and council members have been looking for several years to get away from the tent system and create a more permanent shelter that would include services to keep the homeless from returning to the streets.

The new shelter will be located in an existing building and offer 100 beds beginning April 1. An additional 250 beds will become available over the next couple of months, for a total of 350 by July 1, according to the San Diego Housing Commission.

Up to 40 percent of the beds will be reserved for veterans, according to the commission.

Residents will also have access to supportive services, meals and security. Men and women will be allowed to stay for 45 days.

"Everyone deserves a roof over their head and the opportunity for a better life, and that includes homeless individuals and veterans in need," said Mayor Kevin Faulconer following the vote. "Moving away from temporary tents to a year-round program focused on helping people get off the streets for good is a game-changer."

About half the speakers during an hour of public comment opposed the change, including veterans who said St. Vincent de Paul will not be able to address their special needs.

The Midway District tent, which is closing next week, is operated by Veterans Village of San Diego. A Housing Commission official said Veterans Village of San Diego will provide services to homeless veterans at St. Vincent de Paul.

Deacon Jim Vargas, the new president and CEO of the St. Vincent's, said the city faced an "untenable" situation with the homeless that's intolerable to downtown residents, business owners and the homeless people themselves.

"We as a community cannot continue to do the same things and expect different results," Vargas said. "That is what we're here to talk about ... to do things differently."

Eventually, the services provided by the Neil Good Day Center — like phones, showers and restrooms — will also be transferred to St. Vincent de Paul.

The City Council members who spoke applauded the change but said it's only a start to solving the problem of homelessness in San Diego. The city has funded the tents, generally from November through March, since 1986.

San Diego City Council Approves Plan for New Homeless Shelter

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