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San Diego Emergency Shelters Not Open Despite City’s Announcement

Adrian Handley prepares to sleep outside despite the cold and rain in downtow...

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Above: Adrian Handley prepares to sleep outside despite the cold and rain in downtown San Diego, Dec. 23, 2016.

As temperatures were set to drop below 50 Friday night, the city of San Diego said it has opened emergency homeless shelters. But that's not true — the city's own website says shelters won't open until Saturday.

A press release from the city on Thursday said "due to the rain in our forecast this weekend, PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) and St. Vincent de Paul Village have both activated their inclement weather shelters in the Downtown San Diego area through Monday, Dec. 26, 2016."

The release then said to get more information on 211sandiego.org. But that website says "the inclement weather response shelters within the City of San Diego will activate on Saturday, 12/24/2016."

An operator at 211 also said the shelters would not open until Saturday.

A city spokesman said Friday that as far as he knew, the shelters were open, but that St. Vincent de Paul was short staffed and wasn't taking more people. He said he did not know why the 211 website states shelters wouldn't open until Saturday.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for St. Vincent de Paul said their inclement weather shelter wouldn't open until Saturday. She said they open their dining room when there is a 40 percent chance of rain and temperatures are expected to dip under 50 degrees.

Friday night's temperature in downtown San Diego is expected to dip below 50 degrees, and there is a 55 percent chance of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

The lack of emergency shelter spaces means some of the roughly 8,700 people in San Diego County will be looking for other places to stay warm and dry.

That includes Adrian Handley, who has been living next to an entrance ramp off of Interstate 5 in downtown.

“Right now I’m worried about getting our clothes and our bedding dry, so we have clean dry bedding and clothes,” she said.

Handley has been homeless for the last 18 months and said she and others in the area were covering tents with plastic tarps and trying to keep their belongings off the ground.

San Diego County has activated its inclement weather response to give motel vouchers to homeless people, according to 211sandiego.org.

Reported by Katie Schoolov

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