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Donations help house San Diegans affected by storm

 February 7, 2024 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Erik Anderson, in for Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, February 7th.


San Diegans affected by storm damage are getting help with temporary housing.

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


Rescue crews recovered a floating body in the water near the Tijuana River yesterday.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The county Medical Examiner's Office is looking into the victim’s cause of death to see if it was storm related.

Later in the day, lifeguard team members rescued two people who were stuck on the banks near the San Diego River during the heavy rain.

The lifeguards got to the victims using a rescue boat, and firefighters performed medical evaluations.

Both of the victims were okay.


The atmospheric river has moved away from the region, but the impact of the rain could linger for a while.

City of San Diego transportation director Bethany Bezak says people should keep an eye on trees around their properties.

“When the ground is saturated like it is today after all of the rain that we've had over the past several weeks, rain always brings more potential for down trees, So it's very important that residents stay vigilant and watch for those issues if you see any flooding or down tree, please call our public works dispatch number 619 527 7500.”

The National Weather Service says the rain will stay with us until Friday.


The county board of supervisors voted yesterday to develop a long-term plan for migrant transfer sites and shelters.

The plan will be funded by federal and state money.

In recent months, thousands of people have entered the county from other countries before departing to be with families or friends elsewhere.

The county’s Interim Chief Administrative Officer will work with local organizations and the federal government’s Shelter and Services Program on the plan.

It will be presented to the board of supervisors in a month.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.


The San Diego Foundation is helping people displaced late last month by flooding, with eight-hundred-thousand-dollars raised from private donors and philanthropic organizations.

Reporter Melissa Mae says it’s paying for temporary housing.

MM: The San Diego Housing Commission is using some of that money to get displaced families into hotel rooms… including Jackie Jo Lopez and one of her pups Paquito. Flooding on January 22nd damaged Lopez’s home and flower business.  MM: Lopez has been staying at the Extended Stay America in Mission Valley for the last five days. Under the program, her room will be paid for 28 days. She is taking it day by day. JJL “I was kind of depressed, but I got my spirits high and I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to make it happen. I’m like 12 days from Valentine’s Day. Somehow this is going to work.’ I’m back like 1980’s doing paperwork manually because I don’t have a computer to run my business because they all got water damage.” MM: If you have been affected by the flooding or the recent rain, the Housing Commission is offering housing assistance at the Local assistance center in the Mountain View Community Recreation Center and the Jackie Robinson YMCA.


The flood damage across the county is also amplifying the already growing crisis of unhoused students trying to survive while attending school at the same time.

Education reporter M.G. Perez has more on a project offering rest and relief for those who need it most.

“gotcha! i’m already it…i got you!” sergio belmonte loves to play with his young sons …michael who’s 6 …and 4 year old jordan… “sometimes they’ll tell me …let’s play tag…you want to play tag? i’m all ‘sure, let’s go play.” this game of tag is on the playground of the san diego rescue mission…which has also been home for the single father and his children since just before christmas. sergio belmonte father “i seen a drastic improvement in my boys…there’s a lot more happier…they found friends over here that they can play with…and especially at school.” their school is nearby washington elementary, where sergio learned about project rest…a program provided through the san diego county office of education…funded with federal pandemic money that will end in september. in the past two years…it has provided rest and relief to 14-hundred families offering temporary stays at a motel 6…under a contract with the county. it was just enough to buy sergio and his sons time to get into the san diego rescue mission. paul “what we really do is we focus on relationship and having a support network.” paul armstrong is vice president of programs at the mission. paul armstrong san diego rescue mission “we know that homelessness is complex we want to come along side people and learned what happened …find out what those issues of the heart we can help address them.”  the san diego rescue mission partners with the san diego unified school district in bridging the gap between homelessness and permanent housing to keep students in class and away from chronic absences. right now, there are 8-thousand children in the district identified as experiencing housing insecurity. kristy drake is a resource teacher for the office of children and youth in transition…fighting for funding… kristy drake resource teacher office of children & youth in transition “the biggest thing we need is advocacy for this funding to continue and for people to understand that homeless education is very different from the politics of homelessness.” the county office of education is working with all 42 local school districts and every motel 6 …from near the mexican border up to oceanside. the chula vista location has provided housing for many families with children in the chula vista elementary school district…which has a caseload of 6-hundred students who are unhoused. “it’s a really confusing process with a lot of public assistance programs …so we want to be a helpful hand at the school district. julia sutton is a member of the district’s team of social workers meeting families where they are. julia sutton social worker chula vista elementary school district “they want their children to be successful academically …that is very important to them…but we know that basic needs make that really hard sometimes…and so we just want to partner with families …and we just want to support them in getting to what they need.” “ice cream cone! (i see that …don’t eat it though.)” as jordan belmonte and his older brother michael play in the sand box at the san diego rescue mission...they are happy and hopeful about their future…michael belmonte 1st grade washington elementary school “(what do you want to be when you grow up?) umm..a firefighter or a police officer.. (why?) …because i want to do good deeds and help people.”  their dad, sergio, is hopeful, too… sergio “don’t let nobody discourage you…if you want to do something in your life…go ahead…don’t let nothing stop you…the only person that can stop you is yourself.” …a dad and his sons…the perfect tag team..for success…mgp kpbs news


In the coming weeks, we’ll be bringing you information on some of the local races on the March 5th primary ballot.

One of the races will decide who will replace Monica Montgomery Steppe as the District Four city council member.

Reporter Katie Hyson spoke with the candidates.

The three candidates are Montgomery Steppe’s chief of staff Henry Foster the third, mayoral aide Chida Warren-Darby, and state senate assistant Tylisa Suseberry. All are longtime district residents with local government careers, and say the district’s most pressing issue is economic development. But they advocate for different approaches. Warren-Darby stresses empowering residents to participate in city council. If we can communicate better with constituents . . . they'd better inform us about what they need. Foster says the city has a role as an employer. The city, at one point in time, was the employer of choice for our region. We need to get back to that. Suseberry emphasizes supporting small businesses. Small businesses used to be the fabric of our community. They were thriving along this corridor and now they're vacant. The winner would likely be the deciding vote in the council presidency reelection of Sean Elo-Rivera. Foster voices support for Elo-Rivera. Warren-Darby says she needs to see change. Suseberry is undecided. Candidates need more than half the votes to avoid a runoff. A runoff would cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the district would go more than half a year without representation. Katie Hyson, KPBS News.


A new exhibit now open in North County lets you immerse yourself in impressionist art.

Reporter Alexander Nguyen says the exhibition lets you go “beyond” the artists’ works.

imagine being able to enter one of claude monet’s paintings … and experience each brush stroke … and the way the french impressionist plays with light. that’s what “beyond monet” at the del mar fairgrounds is about. fanny curtat is the exhibit's art historian and consultant. she says in addition to setting foot into the paintings … there is original music that gets you into the artist's world. fanny curtat art historian “so it's really something that's actually quite hard to describe, because you have to be in the space. to feel it, to feel everything sway around you, move around you. the music supports everything. it's all encompassing, and it's truly a dream like experience.” curtat says it's also a good introduction to art for those unfamiliar. this is not the first time paquin entertainment … the producers of beyond monet brought an immersive art experience to the public. in 2020, the group used what it says is cutting-edge projection technology to bring “beyond van gogh” to life as another way for people to experience art. an/kpbs.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us again tomorrow for the day’s top stories, plus, we hear about an SD-SU graduate who developed technology that is at the center of a lawsuit with Apple. I’m Erik Anderson. Thanks for listening and have a great Wednesday.

The San Diego Foundation is helping people displaced late last month by flooding, with $800,000 raised from private donors and philanthropic organizations. Plus, the flood damage across San Diego County is amplifying the already growing crisis of unhoused students trying to survive while attending school at the same time. A new project is offering rest and relief for those who need it most. In other news, in March, San Diegans will vote on who will replace Monica Montgomery Steppe as the District 4 city council member. We hear from the candidates.