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Politics

San Diego Winter Homeless Shelter Closing

Dozens of homeless people lay on beds at the San Diego winter homeless shelter in East Village on November 24, 2009.
Ana Tintocalis
Dozens of homeless people lay on beds at the San Diego winter homeless shelter in East Village on November 24, 2009.
San Diego Winter Homeless Shelter Closing
San Diego's temporary winter shelter for homeless adults is scheduled to close Wednesday. That means about 220 people will be back on the streets.

San Diego's temporary winter shelter for homeless adults is scheduled to close Wednesday. That means about 220 people will be back on the streets.

More Discussion

Listen to the These Days discussion of the winter homeless shelter's closure.

The shelter has been open since last November. Organizers estimate more than 800 people passed through the shelter while it was operating. Neil Raymond Rico is one of them. He's got a college degree and worked for the U.S. Foreign Service. But Rico's been homeless for the past three years. He says a permanent homeless shelter should be built to serve as a springboard to transitional housing.

"Homeless people in this city need affordable, permanent housing. They don't need tents, they don't needs sleeping bags, they don't need peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, water and bananas," he says.

Rico says the shelter is a safe haven for homeless people who have to face social prejudice when they're out on the street. Efforts to build a permanent shelter in the city have been bogged down for months.

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