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Upcoming Vista homeless shelter receives millions in state funding for operating costs

A joint effort to shelter the homeless in Vista and Encinitas has just received $5 million in state funding to cover operational costs for the next three years.

“This is the first of its kind in that two cities are funding one program directly,” said Jonathan Lung, the homeless services program manager for Vista.

Lung said the new shelter will function as a low-barrier, noncongregate center, meaning residents will have separate sleeping spaces.


From the outside, it could easily be mistaken for a pair of apartment buildings.

“With each building there are two floors. Each floor has six total single-room occupancy units, one shared kitchen and two shared restrooms. And there are a total of four floors between the two buildings,” Lung said.

Each room can fit two beds, so the shelter will be able to house up to 48 people at once.

Vista residents will occupy 18 rooms, and six will go to Encinitas residents experiencing homelessness.

The plan is to transport residents from Encinitas in various ways to the Vista shelter.

The frontside of Vista's upcoming homeless shelter are pictured in the two nearest buildings, Nov. 8, 2023.
Jacob Aere
The frontside of Vista's upcoming homeless shelter are pictured in the two nearest buildings, Nov. 8, 2023.

“The regional solutions approach does make a lot of sense because people aren't homeless only within a city boundary,” said state Sen. Catherine Blakespear, D-38th District.

The new site is for adults of both genders, including couples, who will be referred by homeless outreach teams. It will not accept walk-up requests for shelter.

Interfaith Community Services CEO Greg Anglea has been a leading figure in North County's homeless solutions for years.

“There’s a huge lack of shelter beds in North San Diego County. So we really critically need more places for people who are trying to overcome homelessness,” he said.

Anglea estimates that there are a total of 250 shelter beds across all North County cities. He said that number is closer to 100 for low-barrier shelter bed options.

“For every 10 people experiencing homelessness in North County there’s one shelter bed,” Anglea said.

Lung said an operator for the new center will be recommended to Vista City Council on Jan. 9. He expects homeless residents will start moving into the shelter in early spring 2024.