Hundreds of homeless individuals could have a place to stay year-round if a new, permanent shelter gets approval.
City leaders announced a plan Tuesday to open a 350-bed shelter to house homeless veterans and people throughout the year, not just in the winter months.
The location, however, is still up in the air, so the San Diego Housing Commission released a request for proposals (RFP) for an indoor facility. The city says it has roughly $1.6 million annually to put toward the project – the same amount being spent on the existing tent shelters and the Homeless Management Information System.
“This permanent, year-round shelter continues the City’s move away from just providing a bed for a few months. We’re trying to make a real difference by providing supportive services that help our fellow San Diegans get off the streets for good,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer in a press release.
Officials hope the permanent shelter will be up and running by July 1, 2015. It would replace the emergency winter shelter in Barrio Logan – which has 200 beds – and the veteran’s shelter in the Midway District – which holds 150 beds.
Forty beds in the new facility will be dedicated to homeless veterans, and the shelter will also provide support services for those trying to find permanent housing.
“The RFP is a welcome first step since no real effort has been made in the past to find a different site or to implement a permanent indoor homeless shelter to replace the temporary beds the tent provides,” said Councilmember David Alvarez.
He called the existing temporary shelter in Barrio Logan a “crutch, an excuse to pretend that putting up a tent in the middle of the street for a few months of the year is helping the homeless.”
The Housing Commission will be looking for RFPs from nonprofits with a plan on how to operate the new shelter. The city says interested organizations must be able to provide a permanent indoor facility and supportive services.
In September, the city allocated $400,000 as a one-time cost to start up the Homeless Management Information System, which allows anyone offering care to homeless individuals to work together and streamline the services.