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Storage Facility For People Who Are Homeless Could Stay Open Through 2020

Amber Enlund (left) finishes putting items into her storage bin at the city o...

Credit: Matt Hoffman/KPBS News

Above: Amber Enlund (left) finishes putting items into her storage bin at the city of San Diego's new facility on 20th Street near downtown, June 19, 2018.

Last June the storage facility on 20th Street debuted and now the San Diego City Council, acting as the Housing Authority will vote whether or not to keep it open through June 2020.

The vote is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

"Me myself, I like it — I mean love it," said Donald Bryant, who has been using the storage center for the last few months.

"Most of my stuff is here," Bryant said. "Shirts, pants, jackets, shoes."

When the facility first opened people were given storage bins and now the center is using larger trash cans.

"A trashcan can hold quite a bit," Bryant said. "I laughed at it at first but it’ll hold quite a bit."

Bryant said his days center around when the storage facility is open.

"Out of my day — planning my day and shutting it down this is the biggest part of it," he said. "Where I know my stuff is secure."

RELATED: New San Diego Storage Center Geared Toward Helping People Who Are Homeless

Bryant, 61, said he has been living on and off the streets here since the 1980s. During that time Bryant said he has been in and out of jail and struggled with substance abuse.

"I try to stay away from dope sales, but sometimes you get caught up in that," he said.

Bryant said homeless services have come a long way in San Diego and the storage center is part of that progress.

"The services that they’ve got are way better than what it was," he said. "I mean way better."

The storage site is located in Councilwoman Vivian Moreno’s district 8. Her predecessor David Alvarez was opposed to the facility and Moreno shares that opinion. In a statement to KPBS she said, "this location was unsuitable when it was first proposed a year ago, due to the close proximity of a school and nearby homes, and it remains unsuitable today. When the Storage facility was approved over the objections of the District 8 residents, numerous City officials promised that this would just be the first of many storage facilities across the City. District 8 was also promised that additional facilities would be opened before the Sherman Heights location was expanded. A year has passed, and no additional locations have opened.”

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer first proposed the storage facility. A spokesman said the mayor is in favor of keeping it open as it allows people to safely store belongings and keeps streets from being cluttered.

Current funding for the facility ends in May. An extension through next June is estimated to cost $1.3 million.

The storage center on 20th Street is able to securely house the belongings of up to 500 people. It is similar to an outside storage facility on 16th Street.

Reported by Matt Hoffman Anica Colbert

The San Diego City Council, acting as the Housing Authority, is voting Tuesday to approve keeping storage facility for people who are homeless open for another year.

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