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Plan To House San Diego's Homeless In Industrial Tents Gains More Support

Encampments constructed by homeless people stretch down 17th Street in San Diego's East Village, July 6, 2017.
Susan Murphy
Encampments constructed by homeless people stretch down 17th Street in San Diego's East Village, July 6, 2017.
Plan To House San Diego's Homeless In Industrial Tents Gains More Support
Plan To House San Diego's Homeless In Industrial Tents Gains More Support GUEST: Dan Shea, partner, Paradigm Investment Group

They are waiting for an answer. Restaurant tour, Dan Shea and Peter Seidler say they they offered to finance to industrial tense for the homeless. They are waiting to get a formal response. In the week since their offer was made in it has gained endorsement from 200 San Diego inns from politicians and business leaders.As part of the suite of the approach, finding a place for these people to be off the street now is worthwhile.Joining me is Dan Shea. Welcome to the program.Thank You.You say you have the financing for the tense. What you need from the city?We need a location to put them and an agreement to do their dash to do their part financially. When we entered this endeavor and spoke to many people throughout the community, most agreed that they want to help in some way or another but they are reluctant to step out in front of it if the government is not going to do their piece. If we are going to do it, list do it together. What we agreed was the County had to do the social services part which the County has agreed to do. The city has to find a location and agree to provide just the basic day-to-day services which are estimated to be about $17 per day. We don't have a location from the city. They have indicated that they want to find one and they have indicated that they would find the money to take care of basic services. No more than that so far.Let me nail that down. What you just said. $17 per day per homeless person?YesWhen the city Council had to decide each year where to put up the temporary winter shelter tense for the homeless, it was always a big problem. Why do you think it would be any easier this time?I don't think it will. It is their job. They are the ones who wanted to represent the district and it is their job to figure this out. One of the things we had said, although we don't necessarily believe it would happen this way is that if you don't want to fight about who has to take it, why don't we help you put one in each and every district then it is not always in one place of the other. We don't think it will happen that way but the point is even if each district took one tent that would only cover half of the unsheltered people in the city. Let's find a place and start.Chris Ward is heading a special committee. He will get a report next month about establishing's date -- safe zones. He also wants to use Golden Hall or a practice site for shelters. Were not wait to see the results of that study and maybe move forward from there?We have been working on this for about a year. We talked to the mayor and various councilmembers including Chris Ward. The discussion continues to go on and on. It is always, next month we are going to do this. The month after we will do something different. Nothing has happened. We feel that we have spent enough time. We came out with a proposal that they could run with or not. The idea that we will talk more and then talk more and then hope to have a report, we have more reports on homeless in San Diego than anything I can remember in recent years. It is time to start doing something. Within City Hall, it has been determined that neither one of those facilities are going to work or so the Wister -- whispers go behind-the-scenes.San Diego has been devoting efforts to the housing first model. The goal is to get homeless into permanent housing. I guess a lot of people who are advocates of that are asking why we should spend millions on temporary tents?We support that. We think it is a great concept. However, housing first for the number of people that are on the streets is not going to happen mathematically for 5 to 10 years. Question becomes one of, do we just leave those people on the street for five years waiting to have housing built? To have a bridge to housing first and begin doing two things, get them off the street, take them out of the elements but critically speaking, that by itself doesn't work. It has to be with services available. Let's say some of these people that would not have basic services or assessments or triage done for five years could be -- could begin the process. Some people could be moved along quicker. Housing first is the right, long-term concept. How do you long -- how long do you leave people on the street and not do some basic things that could be done right now XFinally, critics pushed back on this offer of yours bite mentioning the fact that you own restaurants downtown. Peter Siler is a manager -- managing officer of the Padres. What is your response to that. Anybody who knows us knows it has nothing to do with what we are doing. Peter came up with this idea and asked me if I would help him. He said, you know we will be criticized but let's do it for the right reason and from a compassionate and logical point of view. I have a restaurant downtown. It is not affected by the homeless. It doesn't have anything to do with it Peter is not doing it from the hydrate perspective, he is doing it from a personal perspective. When you do something like this you have to expect there will be some criticism from someplace it is few and far between that people actually believe that is our motivation.I have been speaking with Dan Shea. Thank You.Thank You.

Leaders of a plan to erect industrial-sized tents to house San Diego's homeless population announced Monday that more than 200 people have endorsed the proposal, including many civic leaders.

Peter Seidler, part of the Padres ownership team, and restaurateur Dan Shea describe their plan as a bridge to the "Housing First" model being adopted across the country to address the homelessness problem.

In Housing First, the homeless not only get off the streets but are also provided necessary social services like substance abuse treatment, health care and job counseling.


RELATED: Two Businessmen Announce Plan For Housing San Diego’s Homeless

Seidler and Shea first announced their plan last month. Among those announcing their backing of the proposal were philanthropist Malin Burnham, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Mark Cafferty, developer Doug Manchester and Kris Michell, who heads the Downtown San Diego Partnership.

Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, and county Supervisor Ron Roberts also signed on to the plan.

In January's annual tally of the area's transient population, 5,619 homeless individuals were counted in the city of San Diego, a 10.3 percent increase from last year. Of those, 3,231 were living on the streets.

RELATED: Count Shows Unsheltered Homeless Growing In North County


City and county officials have responded recently with a series of proposals on how to address both homelessness and a lack of affordable housing. Councilman Chris Ward has suggested using Golden Hall and the Chargers’ former practice facility as temporary housing sites for the homeless. But Shea told KPBS Midday Edition that he does not want to wait for an expected report next month on some of Ward’s proposals.

“We’ve got more reports on homeless in San Diego than anything I can remember in recent years,” Shea said. “So it’s time to start doing something, but within city hall it’s pretty much been determined that neither one of those facilities are going to work, or so the whispers go behind the scenes.”

Ward said in an email that he had not been a part of any conversations between Shea and city officials.

“My office is waiting to learn more and see full analysis by city staff of my initial recommendations,” Ward said. “We have not seen that yet, and are currently moving forward with city staff on due diligence efforts for those recommendations."

A spokesman for Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the mayor appreciated the financial pledges from Seidler and Shea, along with ideas suggested by elected officials and residents.

"A homeless facility needs land as well as funding. There is no perfect spot for homeless services and the city does not own any property that doesn’t come with serious challenges, whether they be logistical or financial," Craig Gustafson said in an email. "The mayor is committed to finding a site and city staff continues to follow the mayor’s direction to identify a suitable location.”

The city of San Diego funded a cold-weather shelter in a tented structure in Barrio Logan for around 30 years. It was shut down for the last time two years ago in favor of a permanent facility run by Father Joe's Villages.