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Local nonprofit proposes using new tents to help ease homelessness crisis

On Wednesday, the Lucky Duck Foundation announced a proposal to put up two industrial-sized tents in a parking lot across from Balboa Park to help address San Diego's homelessness crisis.

The aim would be to provide shelter for two specific groups: the elderly and young adults between 18 and 25, a population that includes people who have aged out of foster care. Each structure would house around 250 people and would be situated on Presidents Way near Inspiration Point.

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“The goal is to get 500 people off the streets," said Dan Shea, executive committee member at the Lucky Duck Foundation. “And to begin to give services to people to give them hope that they don’t have to be on the streets the rest of their lives."

In addition to food and shelter, people would be able access mental health care at these tents and get help with practical things like applying for replacement birth certificates and setting up mail boxes.

The Lucky Duck Foundation also wants to extend its “Cash for Trash” program. The program pays people experiencing homelessness to pick up litter in Balboa Park.

Twenty-four-year-old Jack, who didn't want to provide his last name, is one of the young adults Lucky Duck hopes to reach.

Sitting outside his tent that kept him and his dog dry from recent heavy rain, Jack explained how he aged out of the foster care system and found himself on the streets. He’s optimistic that Lucky Duck's proposals could help people like him.

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“There’s a lot of people that have nothing that come out here and don’t know where to go and sleep on the corner and sleep on the floor," Jack said. "For those people, for sure it will be a good opportunity for them."

The Downtown San Diego partnership has documented a new record high for people experiencing homelessness every month since August. The organization reported 1,800 living on sidewalks or in vehicles during December.