San Diego

Meeting Between Residents, Homeless Storage Facility Operators Turns Testy

An introductory meeting between Logan Heights residents and the operators of a new homeless storage facility turned testy.

“We don’t want that in here. We don’t want it. My community doesn’t deserve this,” said 49-year resident Ramona Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, like others at the meeting at the Sherman Heights Community Center, are angered the storage facility was blueprinted right around the corner from Our Lady of Guadalupe Elementary School.

The school’s playground has been shut down the past three years because of homeless issues already in the community.

“You guys are bringing an impoverished population into an already impoverished neighborhood,” said a man who spoke but didn’t want to be identified.

Rodriguez says she feels, “All the years we’ve been working to have a clean community, just gone.”

Ahmed Khalifa, who lives in a make-shift tent, is one of the homeless people who’ll benefit from the storage center.

“Being able to travel light allows me to be a productive member of society. I don’t want to take-take. I want to contribute.”

Resident are concerned once they store their things the homeless people will wander into the neighborhood, adding to the population that’s already there.

Private contractor Mental Health Services will operate the facility and will provide two security guards. One of them will police within a one block radius of the building.

“Why is security not going beyond the block, because guess what? They’re not going to stick around the block. They’re going to come into our communities,” said a concerned woman at the meeting.

When asked about the issue, San Diego Police Captain Scott Wahl said, “We have a new neighborhood policing division that is designed to help with problems just like this. We’re able to mobilize officers from around the city underneath one umbrella to address problems that may arise in any part of town.”

In an April interview with NBC 7, Our Lady's pastor Father Pepe said students have discovered syringes and used condoms outside of the campus.

“This would not be happening next to the La Jolla Country Day School,” he said.

There are 80 children enrolled in the school.

The facility is expected to open open June 13.

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