Homeless veterans lined up to reserve a bed in San Diego’s only seasonal shelter for veterans living on the streets.
The shelter opened Wednesday morning, and will provide beds to 150 homeless vets living in San Diego. Non-profit agency, Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD), runs the shelter.
When asked if there were enough beds in the shelter to house San Diego’s population of about 1,000 homeless veterans, Andre Simpson, VVSD executive vice president of shook his head.
“There are never enough beds,” Simpson said. “There’s a tremendous need for them though. Veterans would die if this place didn’t open.”
“It’s a life-saver,” he added.
Ed Childers has come to the shelter, located on 2801 Sports Arena Blvd., for the past few years, he said. He recalls vacancy at the shelter lasted about three nights before the recession.
Now, the shelter will fill up in the first night, Simpson said.
The shelter provides three meals per day, showers, medical and psychiatric care, shuttles to VA centers in San Diego and donations from the community – which Simpson said are welcome on the agency's website or at the location on Sports Arena Blvd.
Childers said that while the shelter provides invaluable support for veterans like him, federal, state and county care for its veterans is often lacking.
“This just scratches the surface of what is really needed,” he said. “My son is serving in Afghanistan, and I just hope he doesn’t have to return to homelessness.”
The service is provided in part by the City of San Diego, which pays for two meals per day and the shelter’s operating costs, but the agency’s members say that’s not enough. They hope to raise an additional $35,000 for the third meal, said the agency’s spokesperson Tom Mitchell.