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Oceanside’s First Year-Round Homeless Shelter

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TANIA THORNE

Exterior of Ocean Shores High School on Oceanside Blvd. and El Camino Real. July 20, 2021.

Oceanside will soon have its first year-round homeless shelter. Meanwhile, state windfall money is giving a major boost to San Diego’s budget. Plus, the median home price here hits a record $750,000.

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Thursday, July 22nd.

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A year-round homeless shelter for Oceanside

More on that next, but first... let’s do the headlines….

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County public health officials are strongly urging everyone who isn’t vaccinated against covid-19 yet to go get the shot. cases have jumped 82% in a seven-day period with 35-00 cases reported. Hospitalizations are also already trending up. The new cases and hospitalizations are happening primarily in unvaccinated individuals.

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The San Diego Convention center will reopen for events starting August 1st. Officials made the announcement on wednesday. For the past 15 months the convention center operated as an emergency shelter for homeless San Diegans and then, later on, for unaccompanied migrant children. The first event scheduled in August is SPIE Optics and Photonics, showcasing light-based technologies.

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Pride festivities will take place for the first time ever in Escondido this weekend. Escondido Pride organizer Leyel Malave says more is still needed to be done but this is a step in the right direction.

“I think having Pride in Escondido is a huge step forward. I think it’s definitely in the right direction. We’re definitely seeing that Escondido is ready for that change.”

The event will be at Kit Carson park from 2 PM to 7:30. Admission is free.

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From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.

Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

Oceanside will soon have its first year-round homeless shelter, open for men, women and families. KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne has more.

A school that once served at-risk students will soon serve Oceanside’s homeless.
Ocean Shores High School located on Oceanside Blvd and El camino Real will turn into the city’s first year-round homeless shelter.
DONNIE DEE
“Didn’t think we would get it , and in the end they selected us to be their service provider and I can’t tell you how excited we are.
Donnie Dee is the President of the San Diego Rescue Mission.
It’s different for us because we own our properties, we own our assets, but what I love about this is , its an opportunity for the public and the private to work together on behalf of the people who are living on the streets.”
The Rescue Mission, which will operate the Oceanside shelter, currently operates a 360 bed shelter in Downtown San Diego.
While the San Diego location will serve as a model for the Oceanside shelter, there are some differences.
“That property in Oceanside’s going to be a drop off facility. We’ll work very closely with the HOT Team in Oceanside , with their police department, we'll work very closely with other agencies and they will refer people experiencing homelessness that need a place to stay to the SD Rescue mission ocean shores campus.”
The Oceanside shelter will be open to men, women and families.
Leeanna Quirk and her husband have been homeless for over 4 years and are now staying in a donated RV.
They know all too well the need for shelters for families.
Leeanna Quirk
“There’s nothing for families. That’s the hardest part. Me and my husband have been married 20 years and even when we went to the hotel program, they kind of told us well would you be willing to separate and get rid of your dogs? But we don't want to be separated and i cant get rid of my dogs.”
Quirk’s dogs became her support when she lost her children to foster care and when she started getting seizures.
Quirk thinks the rescue mission’s shelter will be great news to the homeless in the area.
Leeanna Quirk
I know a lot of people that want help and unfortunately they don’t know how to get it.”
The shelter will offer 50 beds with overnight and day use for 30 days. (for radio) Again, Donnie Dee.
DONNIE DEE
“They’ll have 30 days to stay there and it’ll be through that relationship that we’ll figure out do you need to go downtown and be a part of the long term program, do you need to go to detox, do you need a skilled nurse facility, we’ll do triage at these facilities and figure out what's their path forward.”
The Rescue Mission’s plans first start with a remodel of the existing facility.
DONNIE DEE
“It's got a bunch of individual rooms that were classrooms and we will break up those rooms around gender and around family orientation.”
But does the plan account for what about sexual orientation? Some people are raising the question.
Max Disposti is the executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. He says a large part of the homeless population identifies as LGBTQ and the lack of inclusiveness pushes them away from shelters.
Max Disposti
“There is a reason why our population, queer population, prefers to sleep under the bridge, literally. You know we were using public land and resources, they’re supposed to guarantee that protection.”
Disposi says he’s concerned the rescue missions plan excludes the LGTBQ homeless.
Max Disposti
“What is your track record? What do you do when a trans person comes in, how do you protect them? Can I take a look at your intake form? What does your intake form show or doesn't show to be sure this population is included.
Disposti says community relationships are very important when it comes to referring people to agencies for help.
Max Dispost
“In order for us to do a referral to another service provider that has services that we don't have, like housing, and so forth, we ask a lot of questions, is your staff trained? If they are trained, who did the training?
Donnie Dee said the San Diego Rescue Mission has never denied access to services based on religious belief or sexual identity.
He says he welcomes community partners to the Oceanside facility.
DONNIE DEE
“We’re so committed to that approach that we’ll actually have office space in our facility in Ocean Shores for other agencies because we want that kind of relationship. This isn't just our thing, not just a San Diego Rescue mission thing. It’s the community of Oceanside project and we want to serve that city well.”
If approved, remodeling of the facility will start later this year and the shelter is expected to be up and running by next year. TT KPBS News.

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Governor Gavin Newsom signed the 2021-22 state budget last week - and on wednesday, local and state lawmakers were praising the spending plan.

KPBS’ John Carroll breaks down how much of that money is coming here, and the benefits lawmakers say will come along with it.

The new state budget is the biggest in state history… 262 and-a-half billion dollars…San Diego’s share? More than 220-million dollars that will be spent on projects large and small up and down the county.
CG: Todd Gloria/San Diego Mayor
“The state’s leadership and financial strength have put us in a great position to build back boldly, from the pandemic and to create opportunity in all of our communities.”
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria was joined by state and local lawmakers Wednesday morning... They stood on the Ocean Beach Pier, which is getting 8-and-a-half million dollars to help with what’s expected to be an overall cost of more than 40-million to completely repair the OB landmark.
“Many people will get jobs that desperately need them, and a lot of our neighborhoods will look a heck of a lot better.”
San Diego’s Pure Water sewage recycling system is a big beneficiary of this budget… 50-million dollars to help build the massive project. 18-million for clean energy storage at San Vicente Reservoir… 3-million to prevent polluted stormwater from fouling the Chollas Creek… and turning 20-acres there into a regional park. More than three-and-a-half million for renovations to Casa Del Prado in Balboa Park… more than 27-million to combat homelessness.
State Sen. Toni Atkins/(D) San Diego
“Well over 200-million dollars that we’re bringing into San Diego County are one time funds for one time projects.”
One time funds because of the state surplus and federal aid. The Scripps Institution will get a new, 35-million dollar research vessel... 30-million to replace the aging UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.
CG: John Carroll/KPBS News
“This is a big state budget to be sure, but State Senator Toni Atkins of San Diego says it’s not just about spending money, it’s about saving some too.”
“We are gonna continue to have a rainy day fund and a reserve. We are preserving $25, 26 billion dollars in all of our accounts that are there for when we need it.”
There are still some parts of the budget that aren’t complete… negotiations between the legislature and the Governor are happening now to wrap things up in the coming weeks. But with money for so many things already agreed on, state and local lawmakers are more than eager to talk about how they’ve brought home the bacon. JC, KPBS News.

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And…. at Sweetwater Union High School, Thousands of students were back on campus for the first time in 16 months on Wednesday.

KPBS’ Melissa Mae has the story.

Today, the Sweetwater Union High School District returned to in-person learning -- welcoming back more than 36,000 students to 24 middle and high school campuses.
Dr. Moisés Aguirre
“It’s wonderful to see the excitement, the positive energy, the return of a little bit of normalcy to our lives.”
Dr. Moisés Aguirre is the district’s Superintendent. He says it was a day of excitement tempered with preparedness.
Dr. Moisés Aguirre // Sweetwater Union HS District Superintendent
“It’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment for all of our students coming back, but we’re doing it in a way that is safe and we have the appropriate level of protocols based on the guidance that we’re receiving.”
Aguirre has gotten a “mixed bag” of reactions from students about returning to school.
Dr. Moisés Aguirre // Sweetwater Union HS District Superintendent
“Some of them are like, ‘Yay, we’re back’ others are like, ‘Oh, we’re back, I can’t be in my pj’s anymore.’”
Parents are also excited … and grateful.
Dr. Moisés Aguirre // Sweetwater Union HS District Superintendent
“It’s a lot of, ‘Thank you, we’re happy to have our kids back in school and learning and there’s a new found appreciation for all the work that teachers and administrators do.”
The district is no longer enforcing some safety protocols like social distancing. But it is still requiring masks indoors regardless of vaccination status and limiting the number of students in bathrooms.
Drinking fountains have been replaced with water bottle filling stations and every classroom and office space has been equipped with an air purification system.
Aguirre knows that a lot of students experienced the trauma of losing a loved one to COVID-19 and school staff is on hand to help.
Dr. Moisés Aguirre // Sweetwater Union HS District Superintendent
“Is making sure that our students know that there are adults on campus they can talk too, you may need to wear a face mask,
but nevertheless we can be there in person to support them.”
About 300 students have opted to continue with virtual learning through the district’s Launch Academy. Melissa Mae KPBS News.

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Across the state, a new study finds that NEARLY ONE-IN-THREE CALIFORNIA FAMILIES ARE STRUGGLING TO COVER THEIR DAILY LIVING COSTS FOR FOOD, HOUSING AND TRANSPORTATION,. CAP RADIO'S STEVE MILNE HAS MORE.

About 3.5 million households in the state earn income below what researchers for the United Way call the Real Cost Measure.
"The Real Cost Measure to us is a decent standard of living, that's what we're saying."
Pete Manzo is president and CEO of United Ways of California, which released the study.
Of those 3.5 million households, nearly all, 97 percent, have at least one working adult.
"That's a key point of this study is that these are overwhelmingly working households. So the answer for them isn't 'hey, go get a job.' They have a job and they may have more than one job. Very low income households report spending up to 80 percent of their income on housing."
The report also looks at race. Of the households that don't earn enough to get by... 51 percent are Latino, 41 percent Black, 28 percent Asian and 20 percent white. The study is based on U.S. Census Bureau data from 2014 through 2019. SOC

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SAN DIEGO IMMIGRANTS WHO worked with AMERICAN troops and officials IN AFGHANISTAN SAY THE U-S IS NOT DOING ENOUGH to help Afghans still in that country get out. KPBS MILITARY REPORTER STEVE WALSH HAS THE STORY.

Rahmat Mokhtar immigrated from Afghanistan to San Diego in 2016 with his wife. An interpreter who worked with the Marines, he’s watching nervously as the US pulls out without announcing a final plan for thousands of Afghan citizens who worked with the US.
“I am afraid that you will see in months and years, that you will see people are being hanged out there and tortured or killed because of their association with the US military.”
The Pentagon announced this week that 2,500 people will be housed at Fort Lee Virginia, while they complete the naturalization process. It’s a fraction of the 20K people who have applied for Special Immigration Visas - that doesn’t include thousands of family members. The Pentagon says they may house others, if asked by the state department. Steve Walsh KPBS News.

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Coming up.... San Diego home median home prices hit a record 3-quarters of a million. We’ll have more on that next, just after the break.

Bidding wars are breaking out among buyers, as home prices in San Diego reach another record high. In June, the median price for a home in the county reached 750-thousand dollars – up about 150-thousand dollars from this time last year. An extremely low-inventory of homes for sale, and low mortgage rates, are two big factors driving prices up....but so is migration from buyers coming into San Diego from even higher-priced housing markets in California.

Mike Freeman is a reporter for the San Diego Union Tribune who’s been covering the story. He spoke with KPBS Midday Edition Host Maureen Kavanaugh. Here’s that interview.


Remind us if you would, first off, what does median home price mean? Is that the average home price?
Speaker 2: 00:46 No, it means that half of the homes sold for more than 750,000 and half of the homes of the month sold for less than that. So yeah, it's, it's kind of a way to take out the extremes, right? So if you had a $35 million purchase, the average would really shoot high, but in the media, and it's just one of the data points above the metal. And does that
Speaker 1: 01:11 Include condos or just single family homes? No,
Speaker 2: 01:14 That's condos condos as well.
Speaker 1: 01:17 Keeps climbing June's numbers are even higher than they were in may,
Speaker 2: 01:22 Right? Correct. It's been a very hot summer. It's really driven again by the, you know, the low mortgage rates and, you know, also kind of their increased opportunities for people to work from home, coming out of the pandemic or wanting to work from home, coming out of the pandemic. And therefore, you know, it's kind of fueled this strong, strong demand for housing, particularly in the suburbs, right? Lower density areas, um, where people can, um, you know, kind of have their castle and work from it. Is that
Speaker 1: 01:51 The theory about why people aren't selling?
Speaker 2: 01:54 Well, I think the, uh, the theory from the real estate agents I spoke to about what people aren't selling is, you know, if you sell, where do you go from there? So, you know, the idea is, is, or the notion is that, uh, you couldn't replace what you've got. You know, even if you sold for, you know, $750,000, you pocket that profit, um, uh, on your equity, if you wanted to live somewhere in San Diego county, you would have turned around and probably pay more talking
Speaker 1: 02:24 About home in inventory being so low. Is there any way to express how low that inventory is? I mean, is it historically low? Is it, um, what, what are they talking about in terms of how low the housing inventory is? Is there any way that you can describe it?
Speaker 2: 02:42 Well, the, I mean, the MLS has data that showed that the inventory in San Diego county for homes and condos was actually, you know, that's the number of homes for sale listed for sale, uh, was actually less than a month. And typically two years ago before the pandemic, San Diego had 5.5 months of inventory, uh, you know, available. So some 10,000 listings on single family and some 3000 listings on condos and townhomes. So, you know, now it's down to 2000 homeless things and 1000 condo listings. And so the inventory is just very, very thin right now, Lego has failed
Speaker 1: 03:27 To hit the state targets for new home construction. Hasn't it? How far behind
Speaker 2: 03:32 Then the same limits? The target was about 88,000 units and the city builders delivered about 4,200 units, um, on some updated figures that I've found this morning. So it's still, you know, 50% below what the target was. Oh,
Speaker 1: 03:50 Is that low inventory playing out in actual real estate sales in San Diego? What typically happens when a house goes on the market?
Speaker 2: 03:59 Well, from what realtors have told me is that, you know, particularly in a, you know, a new property that is highly sought after coming on the market, I mean, it just launches a bidding war. Um, and people are coming in and bidding above the asking price. And, and one anecdote, a realtor told me her clients bid, uh, $10,000 over the asking price on a, you know, kind of a newly listed hot property. And, and they didn't get it because, you know, someone else bid 45,000 over the asking price. And that home was like right in the sweet spot of the, you know, median price homes. I think it was a 7 75 or thereabouts price. So you get people at routinely now at doing, um, overbidding. Wow. Okay. Well,
Speaker 1: 04:47 What about young couples who might be looking for a starter home, have those prices risen dramatically?
Speaker 2: 04:52 Well, that, that has been a kind of the category with, again, anecdotally from re realtors has been the category that has been the hardest for people to break into because that's where a lot of the overbidding is happening. Buyers who are stretching to reach, um, the median to get into a home. Yeah.
Speaker 1: 05:09 You're reporting that buyers from orange county and elsewhere in California are also driving home prices up in San Diego. Why is that?
Speaker 2: 05:18 Yeah. Well, if you look at the median prices up there it's even higher and, you know, San Francisco is another sort of situation. And, and again, um, uh, from what I was told is, you know, if you're in, uh, in those regions and, you know, your money just goes a lot farther down here, you can, instead of getting a smaller place or, you know, a townhome and attached to home, um, you know, down here you can get a single family home for less. Do we have to wait
Speaker 1: 05:45 Until San Diego can build itself out of this low inventory housing market? Or are there other factors that might start to stabilize the market?
Speaker 2: 05:55 The other clearly other factors that would, would start to stabilize the market because building would be, would be a long, long process, right? Um, but clearly higher interest rates if inflation really takes hold and, and, uh, interest rates start to rise that that clearly will put a damper on the demand. Um, so the, you know, that's one of the things and I mean, there's just, you know, general, uh, economic conditions, you know, we're, we're coming out of the pandemic and it ended up in a hot market. So that, that could be an issue, uh, if, if their economic conditions start to slow. Um, and another thing too, and, and kind of I'm in a different tack, there is, I was told anecdotally that, you know, home construction is really been slow, new home construction, you know, in part, because there was a lumber shortage earlier this year, right. And things how very, very expensive, um, building materials and hard to find labor. So construction employment, I understand this now back to pre pandemic levels, but, you know, still hasn't really taken off. And so, you know, that's slowed it down to, you're not seeing a lot of the new home inventory coming on
Speaker 1: 07:08 Or cast for San Diego real estate for the rest
Speaker 2: 07:11 Of them. Well, according to the CoreLogic people, they, they continue to think that this is going to continue. CoreLogic economists estimated that there'll be 11% price gain between now

That was Mike Freeman, a reporter for the San Diego Union Tribune, speaking with KPBS Midday Edition host Maureen Kavanugh.

That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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San Diego News Now

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.