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Hotel vouchers expire for flood victims

 June 24, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Emilyn Mohebbi, in for Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday, June 24th.


Funding for hotel vouchers has expired for flood victims. More on what’s next for them. But first... let’s do the headlines….


The county's unemployment rate noticeably dropped last month, compared to April.

The rate decreased half a percentage point to 3-point-6-percent.

And the county is still performing better than the state, which is seeing 4-point-5-percent unemployment.

Compared to this time last year, the county’s rate wasn’t too different, at 3-point-3-percent.


The county’s Housing and Community Development Services is looking for input on its five-year Consolidated Plan.

The plan is an evaluation of all housing and community development needs in the county, especially in unincorporated areas, and serves as an official application for HUD funding.

Each year, the department gets about 14-million-dollars in federal HUD funding for projects that support affordable housing and improve communities.

The plan maps out goals for July first of next year, through June 20-30.

Examples of projects funded in previous years include affordable housing, first-time homebuyer programs, building new sidewalks and accessible ramps, and food assistance.

You can learn more at two in-person events this week.

The first one is on Wednesday from four to six P-M at the Alpine Library, and the next one is on Thursday from three to five P-M, at Casa de Oro Library in Spring Valley.

There will be more in-person and virtual meetings through the end of July.

You can learn more on the “Engage San Diego County” website.


We can expect “sunny San Diego” weather this week.

Today (Monday), in the inland and mountain areas, temps will be in the mid 80s, and by the coast, it’ll be in the high 70s.

In the deserts, there’s an Excessive Heat Warning in effect until 8 P-M on Thursday, where temps can reach up to 114 degrees.

And don’t forget, if you need a place to escape the heat, there are plenty of Cool Zones open throughout the county.

To find a Cool Zone site closest to you, visit the county’s website, or call 2-1-1.


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


Victims of the January 22nd floods in San Diego have to find a new place to stay after funding for hotel vouchers expired late last week.

Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says some are already falling into homelessness.

AM: This is my skincare, okay we all need skincare. These are my shoes, my slides. AB: Ashley Manzano isn't carrying much as she checks out of her family's room at the Comfort Inn in Chula Vista. She's been staying here for the past five months. The floods on January 22 forced Manzano to flee with her grandmother to her neighbor's roof. The house is still unlivable. AM: The walls are broken down and that's about it. There's no drywall put up… so it still needs a lot of work. I know what FEMA provided my family — my mother said it's not enough. AB: Manzano was housing insecure before the floods. The stress of the past few months has taken a toll on her family relationships. So she's going to be couchsurfing with a friend 100 miles north in Ontario while she figures out her next move. AM: This was a good home just knowing you're safe. But I feel like we weren't really rested, especially people whose family members, they passed away. They're still not having to cope with that because they still have duties to do at home. AB: The San Diego City Council recently voted to provide an extra 3 million dollars in emergency assistance for flood victims. But faced with a brutal and unforgiving housing market, some are falling through the cracks. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.


Rents went down over the past year in the city of San Diego, and some other parts of the region.

How much they've dropped depends a lot on where you live.

And reporter Katie Anastas says in some places -- the rent went up.

Some of the county’s most expensive areas saw the biggest drops in rental costs over the last year. Coronado’s median one-bedroom rent of $3,820 per month is down about 15% 14.7%. But rent in less expensive areas is rising. National City’s one-bedroom median of $1,920 is nearly 10% 9.7% higher than it was last year. Miro Copic is a marketing professor at San Diego State University. COPIC The demand for more affordable housing is very very high. What we’re seeing is a little bit decline in demand for moderate to luxury type of housing. The median one-bedroom rent in the city of San Diego was $2,370 in May, down about one and a half percent 1.3% compared to last year. Katie Anastas, KPBS News.


140 acres of lush pastoral land sit tucked in the city of Vista.

And until recently, many people didn’t even know it existed… until a large portion of that land went up for sale.

Some of the potential buyers want to use the property to help those facing mental health issues and homelessness.

But reporter Tania Thorne tells us… the proposed sale worries some who already provide services at the site.

Just off Sycamore Avenue, not far from a busy shopping center… you’ll find Green Oak Ranch. They call themselves a retreat… but it’s more than that. Hannah Gailey Executive Director Green Oak Ranch Ministry We operate a camp and retreat center, an RV park for low income residents of Vista, and a drug and alcohol recovery program. Hannah Gailey is the executive director of Green Oak Ranch Ministry- the organization that’s been leasing the ranch for 74 years… at a cost of a dollar a year. But a large part of the property is now up for sale – 110 out of 140 acres. The section for sale includes the R-V park… where Karin Allison lives. Karin Allison GREEN OAK RANCH RV PARK RESIDENT So we've lived here for eight years, my husband and I, with our three children. And we came here as a solution out of homelessness. We were staying at Operation Hope in Vista, and they were closing at the time for the season. They weren't a year-round shelter yet. And so we had to figure something out. Green Oaks Ranch ministry offered Allison and her family a FEMA trailer. It started as a rental agreement and then turned into a rent to own opportunity.  And so now we own the trailer. And we don't have a vehicle strong enough to pull it, but it's ours, technically. It was the safe haven Allison says her family needed coming out of homelessness. So the first thing that we cherished moving into a trailer, even though it's still really not big enough housing for a family of five, the first thing that we cherished was the privacy, because anybody who's ever had to spend some time in a homeless shelter knows that that's not really one of the things that you're afforded there. And they’re not the only ones… There are about 30 families in the R-V park who come  from similar situations. We now pay $1,000 site fee. We are in the fortunate position of having paid off our trailer. A lot of our neighbors still have to make payments on their trailer. Some are actually living in borrowed rigs that a church or a friend allows them to use. Some of our neighbors are refugees from different countries. She says the affordable rent was the solution many of the families had been searching for.  And with the future of the land in question… so are the community's living situations. A year or two is a lot of notice, yes, but it doesn't really increase our alternative options. I know in that time, we won't suddenly make double of what we're earning right now. And now I don't know where we would go. Next to the RV community… is the land used for retreats and camps. We can host up to 400 people at a time. We serve foster kids, Girl Scouts, church groups. We have thousands of kids that come through here each year, and that is a majority of our income. Gailey with Green Oaks Ministry manages the camps. She says the income from them helps keep prices affordable for the RV park and the men's recovery program, also on site. It's a nine-month program for $500 per month. And then after that, we offer a six-month transitional living program where our guys can work off-site and stay here for the $500 per month. And so we have had a good amount of success with that. Of the guys who stay 30 days or more, 40 % graduate. The men's program is on the 28 acres not for sale. But Gailey says the potential loss of the camp and land jeopardizes the program's model. we have a work therapy program. Our men work the ranch. They take care of animals here. They clean cabins after camps. They provide all of the food for our camps, and they maintain the 140 acres. And in exchange, we are able to offer our program at $500 a month, which is well below the cost of having people here. So Without our 110 acres, we have to change the model of what we do. The sale is happening because the ranch’s owner died.  A real estate trust now oversees the property. There are already several bids for the land… with proposals for supportive services for mental health and people who are unhoused. Karin Allison sees a contradiction in the plans. So it is ironic to come in and say, We want to use the ranch and expand the vision of serving the homeless population. And as part of that, these people have to go and lose their home. We would be made homeless over this. We’ll have more on what the proposals look like tomorrow. TT KPBS News.


A green sea turtle named Gigi is back home, in the San Diego bay.

Seaworld released her there, late last week (Friday).

Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge says it was a year after she was found floating in the bay.

Gigi was released at the edge of San Diego bay to the cheers of onlookers and Seaworld Staff. And she wasted no time getting into the water. The bay is Gigi’s old home, as it’s home to about 60 green sea turtles. Gigi is missing her left front flipper. But Jeni Smith with Seaworld says she was rescued by marine biologists because she was floating on the surface in a way that looked like trouble. “She was very buoyant and sea turtles need to dive to find their food source. So we took her in for X-rays. We took her in for a CT scan at the San Diego Zoo. And we just found out that she was just gassy.” The gas that was trapped in her intestinal tract was causing her buoyancy and making it hard to dive. Smith says they had several methods of treatment, which included taking her for a drive on a bumpy road. SOQ.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join me again tomorrow for the day’s top stories. I’m Emilyn Mohebbi. Thanks for listening and have a great Monday and a great start to the week.

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Victims of the January 22 floods in San Diego have to find a new place to stay after funding for hotel vouchers expired Friday, and some are already falling into homelessness. In other news, the median rent has decreased slightly in the city of San Diego. Plus, 140 acres in Vista is for sale. Some of the potential buyers want to use the property to help those facing mental health issues and homelessness.