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Remodeling delays slows progress on Oceanside's first homeless shelter

The San Diego Rescue Mission obtained a contract to run Oceanside’s first homeless shelter last year — but construction has yet to start on the site. KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne tells us what’s holding it up

Oceanside’s first homeless shelter will be run by the San Diego Rescue Mission at the old Ocean Shores High School. But the buildings are in need of a remodel and a shovel has yet to hit the ground to prepare for the 50-bed homeless shelter.

“Not much has changed since we signed the service agreement and I think that's unfortunate... but patience is a virtue,” said Donnie Dee, the president of the San Diego Rescue Mission.

Dee says he hoped to be open by now, but since the site is city owned, everything needs to be approved by them first.


“Since November it's just been submitting plans and trying to get permits ready to go. Our contractor had to get a license that was acceptable,” he said.

This is the first time the San Diego Rescue Mission has partnered with a government agency.

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“We typically own our own stuff and we set our own timelines," Dee said. "But in working with another municipality, we’ve had to jump through some hoops just to try to figure this out. I think that's delayed it a little bit. ”

The city required three different bids for all work before one was approved.


In a statement, the city of Oceanside said that when developing a project of this magnitude it is normal and expected for plans to change.

But Dee says work on the shelter is about to start, saying, “We're ready to start demolition. That will happen next week. That’ll take a couple of weeks to get everything cleaned out. Then they'll start to renovate this property.”

The rescue mission is responsible for funding operations of the shelter while the city is responsible for funding the remodel of the buildings.

Last month, the city of Oceanside was awarded $2.25 million in federal funding dedicated to the remodel of the homeless shelter.

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“It's my understanding that that's what they'll use to renovate this facility, which is about a $2 million budget. And then I think it's another three to four hundred thousand to furnish it,” Dee said.

While the 50-bed shelter won’t solve homelessness in Oceanside, Dee said he hopes the shelter will fill up right away in order to request an expansion.

“I hope that I have to go to my board and the city and say 'look we don't have enough beds. We're getting people off the streets in a remarkable way, we need more beds.' That would be a great next step and I hope that happens,” he said.

Demolition is expected to start in the coming weeks and Dee hopes to be open by late summer.

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