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Permanent Homeless Shelter Might Not Be Ready For Winter

A makeshift homeless shelter in downtown San Diego.
Nathan Rupert
A makeshift homeless shelter in downtown San Diego.

The city of San Diego's planned permanent homeless shelter might not be ready in time for the onset of cold winter weather, so a contingency plan will be presented to the City Council's Land Use and Housing Committee tomorrow.

The plan includes a temporary winter shelter of the sort city officials hoped would no longer be necessary. The Connections Housing project, at 1250 Sixth Ave. was approved, in part, to avoid the annual scramble for a temporary shelter site, which always brought heated opposition from neighbors of proposed locations.

Construction crews have been renovating the 86-year-old World Trade Center building since the beginning of the year with an eye toward completion by early November. However, the target date for completion is now Dec. 1, and the building might not be ready for use as a permanent shelter until the end of 2012, said Maria Velasquez of the San Diego Housing Commission.


The contingency plan calls for the Housing Commission to determine by Sept. 1 whether Connections Housing will be ready by the target date and, if not, seek funding for the usual tent shelter.

If the temporary shelter is needed again, the commission proposes to place it on a city-owned lot at 16th Street and Newton Avenue in Barrio Logan.

Last winter's shelter was also located there.

Once Connections Housing is completed, it will have 134 beds for interim housing for the homeless, 16 beds for those with special needs and 73 units of permanent housing. It will also give space to social service agencies that provide mental health care, substance abuse counseling, and a health clinic.