Local Homeless Provided Warm Beds for the Holidays

Winter shelter opens early despite lack of funds

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the city's single adult homeless emergency winter shelter opens Monday. The shelter is located downtown at 15th and Island to provide more than 1,000 men and women a warm bed throughout the holiday season.

To celebrate the early opening, an early Thanksgiving dinner is planned Monday night at 5 p.m. "I'm so grateful that we get to open early, it just seemed right to show thanks," said Bob McElroy, President and CEO of the Alpha Project.

Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC) was instrumental in preparing the site location for the early opening. CCDC spent approximately $140,000 on the site improvements and the property itself was provided by developer Oliver McMillan. This year, a bulk of the shelter was funded by the City's allocation of Emergency Shelter Grants and funds from the San Diego Housing Commission.

"Although we haven't raised yet raised the $120,000 shortfall that we are experiencing to open the shelter early and provide enhanced services, it is important for us to begin operating the shelter immediately as the homeless in our community are aging and very ill. To date we have raised $30,000, but I'm confident that the community will come forward," McElroy said.

This past year, more than 50-percent of shelter residents suffered from one or more disabilities, and over 35-percent of the residents were over age 51.

The Alpha Project still needs to come up with additional dollars to pay for 20 additional beds, for a total of 220 beds each night, a morning meal, blankets, toiletries, case management, and other support services. So far, $30,000 has been raised by supporters including Councilmember Jim Madaffer, the Port of San Diego, Wal-Mart and other donors.

To make a donation or learn more about The Alpha Project visit www.alphaproject.org.

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