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San Diego Homeless Brace For Wet, Windy Weather

People stand outside of tents on 17th Street in San Diego's East Village, Nov. 25, 2016.
Kris Arciaga
People stand outside of tents on 17th Street in San Diego's East Village, Nov. 25, 2016.
San Diego Homeless Brace For Wet, Windy Weather
San Diego Homeless Brace For Wet, Windy Weather
With cold, wet and blustery weather expected to move into San Diego Saturday, some temporary emergency homeless shelters across the county are expected to open. Still, thousands of homeless will have to endure the harsh conditions on the streets.

With cold, wet and blustery weather expected to move into San Diego Saturday, some temporary emergency homeless shelters across the county are expected to open.

“It will be tough,” said Tanya Jasper, who is newly homeless after her yearlong stay at St. Vincent de Paul Village ended in October. “Everything’s full. There’s nothing open.”

Jasper now lives among more than 150 others on 17th Street in San Diego’s East Village. Her wait for another shelter bed is two to four months long, she said. In the meantime, she sets up her sleeping bag wherever she can find a space.

The sidewalks on 17th Street and the surrounding blocks seem to be reaching capacity, with solid lines of tents no more than an inch apart stretched down entire blocks.

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Jasper said the nights, and the pavement, are getting colder and taking a toll on her health.

“It’s horrible,” Jasper said. “I’ve just about got pneumonia now just in the short time I’ve been out here. I’m hurting in my chest from coughing.”

Jasper and some of the other homeless in downtown are hoping the city opens its emergency shelter this weekend during the rain and wind. The city of San Diego contracts with St. Vincent de Paul Villages to set up 200 cots in its dining hall when temperatures dip below 50 degrees and there is at least a 40 percent chance of rain.

Some churches and other organizations will likely also open their doors.

Still, hundreds of homeless will have to endure the harsh conditions on the streets. Gary Wilson, who has been homeless for six years plans to wrap himself in blankets and plastic and take cover anywhere he can find it.

“You try to hold on to your body temperature,” Wilson said. “Make sure you have a corner to cover you.”

Nearly 5,000 homeless people across San Diego County are living outside on the streets. The San Diego Regional Task Force On the Homeless reports the number is 20 percent higher than last year.