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Mayor Urges City To Buy Hotels To House San Diego’s Homeless Residents

Beds fill a homeless shelter inside the San Diego Convention Center Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in San Diego.
Gregory Bull / AP Photo
Beds fill a homeless shelter inside the San Diego Convention Center Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in San Diego.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other city leaders on Monday announced a plan to purchase two hotels in San Diego to serve as permanent housing for people who are phasing out of shelters.

The plan to purchase the two Residence Inns in Hotel Circle and Kearny Mesa will be presented to the San Diego City Council on Tuesday.

Mayor Urges City Buying Hotels To House San Diego's Homeless Residents
Listen to this story by Tania Thorne.

The two properties would create 332 permanent units that can provide housing for more than 400 people. The city said the units will require minimal work and they could begin operating as housing as early as December.

Faulconer urged the city council to approve the purchase.

“By converting these hotels into housing and continuing to navigate folks into other housing, our region will continue to lead the state on solutions to reduce homelessness,” he said.

Each hotel room comes furnished and equipped with a kitchen. This allows for transitioning individuals to be self sufficient and can result in long term stability. The hotels would also offer on-site specialized treatment where case managers can help residents get back on their feet.

This method has already seen double the success rates, compared to traditional bridge programs, where residents are housed on a temporary basis, Faulconer said. The program already has over 300 individuals ready to be placed into permanent housing, he said.

“These properties will pave the way for over 400 additional folks who have been stabilized through operation shelter to home to get a place of their own,” Faulconer said.

Occupants of the new housing would include people who are homeless and currently residing at the San Diego Convention Center, part of Operation Shelter to Home.

The operation has been operating out of the San Diego Convention Center since the beginning of the pandemic in March. It offers a safe and sanitary space, reducing COVID-19 transmissions within the homeless population in San Diego.

It has been recognized for its ability to successfully manage a population of approximately 1,000 individuals per day and prevent the spread of COVID-19 among shelter clients, staff and volunteers.

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This story was produced with support from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.