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Politics

Proposed Homeless Shelter For San Diego Could Open In July

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A proposed year-round housing facility for the homeless intended to replace the city of San Diego's temporary winter tent shelters could be open in July, the San Diego Housing Commission announced Friday.

The city has been providing temporary shelters for the homeless during the year's coldest and wettest months since 1986.

In October, the City Council directed the housing commission to come up with possible locations for a permanent shelter. The commission recommended that St. Vincent de Paul Village open a permanent interim housing program at the Paul Mirabile Center in the East Village that could assist as many as 2,835 people. The winter tents typically house about 800 people each year.

"The time is now to do the right thing for homeless San Diegans — no more tents," commission President and CEO Richard Gentry said. "The San Diego City Council asked the San Diego Housing Commission to find a solution, and that's what we have done."

Related: San Diego Asking For Proposals For Permanent Homeless Shelter

Mayor Kevin Faulconer also played a key role in finding a housing solution. His 2015 budget, approved in June, included $400,000 in one-time funding for a homeless assessment and housing placement program.

"One of my top priorities as mayor is creating more opportunities for San Diegans, and that includes homeless individuals and veterans in need," Faulconer said. "This permanent, year-round interim housing is the latest change to how the city cares for homeless individuals. We're shifting to results-driven programs that provide opportunities and help our fellow San Diegans get off the streets for good."

According to the commission, the proposed year-round interim housing would provide 350 beds for homeless adults, of which 40 percent would be reserved for veterans. Residents will also have access to supportive services, meals and security. Men and women would be allowed to stay for 45 days.

Operating costs are expected to run about $1.9 million per year.

City Councilman Todd Gloria said he looked forward to closely examining the proposal.

"This is the front door to a coordinated system of homeless services, and moving from a tent to a permanent structure and expanding its operation from 16 weeks to 52 weeks will allow us to connect more of our neediest neighbors to the resources required to get them off the streets," Gloria said.

The recommendation also included a provision that St. Vincent de Paul Village would operate a day center at a cost of around $500,000 annually.

The commission is scheduled to consider the proposal on Thursday. If approved, it would then be considered by the City Council on March 24.

If ultimately approved, around 100 beds at the Paul Mirabile Center would become available April 1 to assist with the three-month transition from the emergency shelters closing to the beginning of the interim housing program, the commission said.

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