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San Diego Exploring New Storage Facility For Homeless In City Heights

This warehouse is being used as a 500 bin storage facility for homeless peopl...

Photo by Priya Sridhar

Above: This warehouse is being used as a 500 bin storage facility for homeless people in San Diego to store their belongings, San Diego, May 7, 2019.

The city of San Diego plans to open a new storage facility for homeless people to keep their belongings in City Heights after an existing facility in Sherman Heights reached capacity.

In June 2018, the city opened a facility with 500 storage bins in a warehouse at the corner of Commercial Street and 20th Street in Sherman Heights. This past March, City Council members voted to keep that facility open through June 2020, despite strong opposition from some neighbors of the site.

"You've got residential homes right there in this neighborhood, you have Sherman Elementary that is two to three blocks away where you have five-year-olds that are going to school in the morning and walking home after school," said Erica Bocian Garcia, a member of the volunteer committee that advises the city on the storage facility. "That's not who you want your kids bumping into on their walk to school or walk home from school."

Linda Gentile, who has been homeless on and off for eight years, said having a place to put her clothes has given her confidence that she might be able to get back on her feet.

RELATED: Meet The Man Helping To Shelter Mid-City’s Homeless

"I was so happy because I could come and dump my dirty clothes, pick up clean clothes and look nice for an interview for a job," she said. "Everybody looks at me on the streets and they don't believe me that I don't have a place to live, but I've been so blessed."

The city says the current facility in Sherman Heights is at capacity and they need to open a new one. Officials had originally planned for 1,000 storage bins, but council members cut it to 500 bins in response to neighborhood concerns.

"We know there's a need, we know this helps people to protect their belongings, get their belongings off the streets," said mayoral spokesman Greg Block. "So we wanted to open another storage facility where there's a need, where there's a homeless population that we know. The council president (Georgette Gomez) stepped forward and said, 'Do it in my district, we'll work with you.'"

Block said while the city has identified a location, it plans to do community outreach in City Heights in the next two months before the location is announced.


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