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City Heights Coworking Space Strives To Help Entrepreneurs And More Local News

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Two local women share their journey in the growing trend of setting up shared office space.

Plus, finding a place to go to the bathroom isn’t something most of us think about. But for people who are homeless, that task is getting more complicated as bathrooms are becoming harder to find. And, the city council has approved a 12-month expansion program called “bridge shelters,” to help those transitioning from being homeless to permanent housing.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:01 It's Wednesday, June 12th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters coming up the bridge shelter program okayed by the city council for a 12 month expansion and no doubt you've heard of coworkers, but what about the new concept coworking?

Speaker 2: 00:16 There was this natural like pivot towards becoming more of a community space and becoming more of an outreach to small businesses.

Speaker 1: 00:24 Details on what's more than just a shared office space in city heights after the break. Coworking, it's a relatively new concept that's becoming more popular around the world, including here in San Diego. KPBS reporter Prius rather takes us to one such shared office space in city heights. San Diego City Council members Tuesday voted to keep three temporary homeless shelters open for another year. Kpbs Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says funding the shelters has been a challenge. Nick rock and Stacy Keck met each other out of necessity. They were looking to find people to share an office to save money. CAC has been a freelance photographer in San Diego for 10 years.

Speaker 2: 01:09 I've been working out of my apartment for as long as I've been full time photo. So, um, that can be extremely isolating. It can be very, you know, liberating as well, but you get to a point where you kind of Plateau and you reached this place where you wish that you had other people around.

Speaker 1: 01:30 Rock says the two women soon discovered they wanted much more than just a physical space to work from.

Speaker 2: 01:36 There was this natural like pivot towards becoming more of a community space and becoming more of an outreach to small businesses that need a place to connect and engage and interact with other businesses and to share ideas. And that's what we wanted to kind of be a part of, to create something where people didn't feel alone.

Speaker 1: 01:58 That was the beginning of you belong here. A collaborative work and event space in city heights. Rock noticed an empty storefront on El Cahone between the eight oh five and the 15 and made her move.

Speaker 2: 02:11 I love the way it looked. I loved the facade. I just felt like it was a beautiful space and it was so sad that it was empty for so long. Um, it was just supposed to be an office space. Nothing more than that. And what it became is so much more like than what I even imagined.

Speaker 1: 02:28 And CAC rented out the space a year ago since then, they've gutted it, renovated it, and transformed it. In addition to offering traditional coworking space, the two also rent out and donate the space to area nonprofits for art shows and events. Keck says it's helped her expand her professional network.

Speaker 2: 02:48 Once we opened the doors and we were having art shows and workshops and um, we've done film screenings here in collaborated with local nonprofits to have, um, once people started showing up for those types of things, I really realized that I could do more fulfilling work.

Speaker 1: 03:08 According to the 2018 global coworking survey, 1.7 million people are working in 19,000 coworking spaces around the world. That's up more than 40% from the year before. The trend is believed to have started in 2005 in San Francisco. For freelancers who wanted the community and structure of having an office space. Crosby noricks is a business coach and runs a public relations website. She's one of the first three members of you belong here. Who uses the space to cowork?

Speaker 2: 03:40 For me, I love being able to bring my, you know, branding, marketing, public relations, media knowledge to the table and I also love to learn about, you know, different opportunities that I might not be thinking of because I'm so focused in my niche. So, uh, being able to leverage their relationships, their ideas, just to see my own blind spots

Speaker 1: 04:01 you belong here offers different memberships ranging from $20 to use the space for a day up to $200 for an all access monthly pass the space offers a kitchen with coffee and snacks. Why fi a podcast room and a closed door office. Nick Rock says in addition to being able to get out of the house you belong here has given her a place to brainstorm with other entrepreneurs about ways to grow her business.

Speaker 2: 04:29 We had to do a lot to learn about like establishing an LLC, getting lawyers, having contracts put together. So these are things that we weren't really doing outside on our own. So by coming together we had to learn all of these like business steps, which is something that we really want to focus on for anyone who comes into the space. We want to provide them with those resources and the consulting and the help

Speaker 1: 04:55 you belong here is hoping their membership grows and they can continue to provide a place and a platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs in San Diego to thrive. Priya, sure. Either k PBS news, the number of homeless people sleeping outside in downtown San Diego is up slightly, but the number of bathrooms available to them is down. KPBS health reporters, Susan Murphy talked to some homeless women about their daily struggle to find a toilet. The number of homeless people sleeping on downtown sidewalks is nearly unchanged from two years ago during the hepatitis a outbreak account in May by the downtown San Diego Partnership, which conducts monthly counts, found more than 850 unsheltered men, women and children. The difference now is makeshift camps that you still align. City blocks are no longer tolerated and sidewalks are regularly power washed. But one thing that hasn't changed much according to homeless people living there is the number of available bathrooms, especially at night.

Speaker 1: 05:55 You know, there are very few places for us use the restroom out here and Ramona Garcia says she's been homeless for four years. She says a lack of bathrooms has caused her to have rashes and poor hygiene. You know, most of us don't want to use, you know, outside, but sometimes we have to, we have to go to the bathroom somewhere. The city of San Diego deployed 16 port-a-potties to downtown streets during the hepatitis a outbreak, but many have since been removed. A city spokesperson says some of the toilets were taken away when the large tent shelters went up. Homeless advocate. Michael McConnell says the conditions continue to be a health hazard

Speaker 3: 06:28 until we deploy the proper kinds of resources, the coordination to actually get folks off the street that will eliminate that risk.

Speaker 1: 06:38 Susan Murphy Kpbs News, Additional Mental Health and psychiatric services could be coming to north county soon. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says that's if a plan is approved by local health care providers and the county of San Diego Tri City Medical Center

Speaker 4: 06:54 closed its inpatient mental health and crisis stabilization units last year. Tri City made the move citing funding and a shortage of qualified psychiatrist, but there appears to be a plan to bring those mental health services and more back county supervisor. Jim Desmond was in a meeting with Tri city and Palomar health Tuesday and after months of discussion there's now a proposal on the table.

Speaker 3: 07:14 We said, okay, here we want to move forward on this. We hit, we want to phase in a, in a program and we're, we want to concentrate on, you know, putting in behavioral health beds, a crisis stabilization centers and transitional or or a step down beds.

Speaker 4: 07:29 The county would theoretically help with funding those services. It's unclear exactly how many inpatient beds it would bring to North County. The two hospital boards are expected to take up the proposals within the next month. Matt Hoffman, K PBS News,

Speaker 1: 07:42 Arthur and base space x will attempt to launch a rocket carrying three satellites this morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base. KPBS. As Sally Hixon tells us, depending on weather conditions, the launch could be seen here in San Diego County, the launch of the Falcon nine rocket carrying the radar sat constellation for the Canadian Space Agency is scheduled for 7:17 AM Wednesday. Previous launches at Vandenberg have created impressive light shows over southern California. Although Wednesdays launch will occur after daybreak, it will still likely be visible for people across the region. Space x will attempt again to recover the first stage of the Falcon nine rocket by landing at back at Vandenberg. Base officials say the returning rocket could cause one or more sonic booms as it travels faster than the speed of sound. The three satellites will gather data primarily from maritime surveillance, disaster management, and ecosystem monitoring. Sally Hixon Kpbs News. Governor Gavin Newsom says California needs new ideas to meet the needs of the state's aging population. He signed an executive order Monday calling for a new master plan for aging as part of our California dream collaboration. Kpc Sees David Wagner has more

Speaker 5: 08:56 people. 65 and older are the fastest growing age group in California. By 2030 the state will have more than eight and a half million seniors. California is graying and that's going to have big implications for housing, transportation, and the cost of healthcare. Newsome's executive order directs the State Secretary of Health and human services to convene a new cabinet level working group on aging. The members will have to address how government and nonprofits should deal with everything from the rising demand for in home supportive services to increased social isolation. Newsome set a deadline of October, 2020 to come up with the plan in Los Angeles. I'm David Wagner

Speaker 1: 09:34 keeping portable toilets open in downtown San Diego is costly. KPBS health reporters. Susan Murphy tells us why the price tag to operate. Three portable toilets located side by side on 16th street in the East village is $29,000 per month. They're not connected to the sewer and there is no running water. A city spokesperson says the bulk of the cost comes from 24 hour security and a portable solar powered light. One of the toilets remains locked and is only available for security guards. Like Jonathan Benton courts. He says more than a 100 people use the toilets each day. Most are homeless.

Speaker 6: 10:10 They do carry knives, needles and stuff like that. So I also have pepper spray. If someone tries to, um, uh, physically attack me, I usually just try and talk to them like humans. And that works most of the time.

Speaker 1: 10:22 He says the toilets are cleaned every day and restocked with toilet paper twice a day. Susan Murphy Kpbs News, a new program pays homeless people in San Diego to pickup trash. KPBS reporter Max Rivlin nodular says it's gearing up for a big expansion.

Speaker 7: 10:39 Last year, the nonprofit organization Alpha project launched wheels of change, which pays homeless people minimum wage to spend a few hours cleaning up city streets. Now the program is set to expand after it raised over half a million dollars from both the city and private donors. Wheels of change has added a second van to its fleet and is now sending out 20 homeless people every week day to clean up neighborhoods. We also have changed as aiming to give jobs to more than 5,000 people this year as it expands its services. Two more days of the week. Max Riverland, Adler, k PBS news,

Speaker 1: 11:18 Colorado River water makes up more than 70% of San Diego county's water supply, but states up river. Our planning ways to capture more of its water before it ever reaches California. The state of Wyoming is moving forward on building or expanding several reservoirs on the green river, a main branch of the Colorado in the second part of our series, the final straw, Wyoming public radio is melody Edwards reports more jams could actually contribute to global warming. It's late May in Sublette county, Wyoming. It snowed last night in more snow is predicted. That's why it's

Speaker 8: 11:54 good that rancher, Chad espon shied is behind the wheel. The roads are sloppy and middle. Piney creek that runs through his property is running high.

Speaker 9: 12:02 There's a lot of water. Yeah. Wow. It seems like it's starting to flood

Speaker 8: 12:07 and that wetness is nerve racking for ranchers like Espen shied. There's lots of things to be stressed about in ranching. One of the big ones is water. That's why he's glad the state is fixing Middle Piney. Damn. It controls the creek that flows into the green river and irrigates his hay fields.

Speaker 9: 12:23 Yeah. Would get metal, Piney creek a little more. The steady flow instead of it all coming out in one shot and everybody having a really passionate around and and capture it all at one time.

Speaker 8: 12:34 Not only is that's shy to rancher, he's a water engineer. He says fixing that dam. We'll store a modest 4,200 acre feet of water from the Colorado River Basin. As for how dipping that small amount out of the river will affect lower basin states that also rely on the Colorado.

Speaker 9: 12:50 I don't know. I'm just kind of Wyoming really true, so I'm kind of worried about Wyoming yet to be honest. So,

Speaker 8: 12:57 but it's not just the middle piney reservoir,

Speaker 10: 13:00 4,000 for middle tiny 10,000 for westward, that's 14,000

Speaker 8: 13:04 hey, it's Jason meet at Wyoming's water development office, adding up all the water storage the state wants to add on the green river drainage in total 130,000 acre feet stored in new or expanded reservoirs that it'd be enough water to supply a city of a million people about half that many live in the entire state of Wyoming.

Speaker 10: 13:24 Every one of these projects that we're talking about really are for irrigation shortages and trying to handle the drought situation. I'm in trying to take water when we have good years and carried over into Wa end a years at our dryer

Speaker 8: 13:39 and those drier years are expected to worsen long range forecasts, say heavy snow packs are expected to melt and flood earlier in earlier. Then leave ranchers with less water in the summer.

Speaker 10: 13:50 If we can't keep those businesses afloat, eventually they're going to have to sell.

Speaker 8: 13:54 Meets us more dams. Could help ranchers survive the coming droughts, but some scientists say building more dams might actually worsen climate change. University of Wyoming soil scientist Jane Norton says dams that managed for flood control. For example, they want the water drained out so that in an event of a flood, they have storage capacity that can cause very low flows downstream that dry up those, those floodplain wetlands, wetlands that Norton says store huge amounts of organic carbon. There's estimates that if we could raise soil organic carbon by about 0.4% per year, that we would completely offset human derived emissions of greenhouse gases. Think of all the plants growing like a green snake along streams in the otherwise arid mountain. West wetlands along undammed waterways can take up as little as 2% of the landscape, but hold 15 to 30% of the carbon. If reservoirs hold back all the water, those green snakes will dry up and stop holding carbon, but Norton says if dams are managed properly,

Speaker 11: 14:59 conceivably it could have a positive effect on downstream Wellons. If water tables are maintained relatively high, irrigation itself expands wetlands.

Speaker 8: 15:10 That's not the only effect of dams on climate. Though. One study shows that decomposing organic matter behind dams as the water level drops can produce large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that's even more potent than carbon dioxide. That's all well and good to rancher and water engineer. Chad espon shied, but he says the positives of building dams outweighs the negatives.

Speaker 12: 15:33 No strangers or you know, they're ranchers because they love their ranch and they love the outdoors and they love the wildlife and everything about it. So if you can find a win win solution, you know, then everybody's happy.

Speaker 8: 15:48 The question is, with all the upper basin states investing in more dams, what will the accumulative effect B? I'm Melody Edwards in Big Piney Wyoming.

Speaker 1: 15:59 This story is a part of a collaborative series from the Colorado River reporting project at UNC Kuer and Salt Lake City and Wyoming public radio. Thanks for listening to San Diego News matters. For more KPB as podcasts go to k pbs.org/podcasts.

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San Diego News Matters

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.