San Diego

San Diego Opens 3rd Temporary ‘Bridge' Shelter for Homeless

This third "bridge" shelter is located on the northeast corner of 14th Street and Commercial Avenue and is focused on helping homeless women and families

The city of San Diego will open its third temporary shelter for homeless locals Thursday – this one focused on giving women and families a place to stay and resources to help steer them toward permanent, affordable housing.

The shelter, a collaborative effort with the nonprofit, Father Joe’s Villages, is located on the organization's campus on the northeast corner of 14th Street and Commercial Avenue in downtown’s East Village. 

The facility can house up to 150 people, including women, men and children who are part of a family, as well as single women.

The tent includes bunk beds and bins for storing personal items, plus outside showers and bathrooms. There’s also a play area for children. The families living at this site will have access to resources available at the Father Joe’s Villages adjacent campus including a medical clinic, employment center and therapeutic childcare program.

County resources will also be available for families coming through the shelter, including help from experts who can work to connect families with permanent housing.

The city said the goal is to get 60 percent of the people staying at this facility into a permanent home within three months.

“As we prepare to build permanent homes to address the shortage of affordable housing for those who are homeless, setting up this temporary shelter on our available lot is simply the right thing to do,” Deacon Jim Vargas, the president & CEO of Father Joe’s Villages, said in a press release. “Our community’s homelessness crisis demands both forward thinking and immediate action.”

The plan is to keep the temporary tent there until November. In early 2019, Father Joe’s Villages expects to begin construction on a permanent, 400-unit supportive housing facility at the same location that will be part of the organization's “Turning the Key” initiative, which aims to bring 2,000 new affordable housing units to San Diego in unused lots and buildings.

The organization hopes to move people into the permanent housing in the first half of 2021, reserving 270 units for individuals who are chronically homeless and the others for formerly homeless veterans, individuals and families.

Last month, the city opened two other so-called “bridge shelters” – one geared toward helping homeless U.S. military veterans and the other for single, homeless adults.

The San Diego City Council approved more than $6.5 million to fund the shelters, which are part of Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to help get the city’s homeless population off the streets amid the ongoing Hepatitis A outbreak.

NBC 7’s Audra Stafford talks with one homeless veteran who said the timing of the shelter opening is perfect.

Earlier this week, county health officials extended the Hepatitis A emergency declaration in San Diego for the 12th time but said cases are declining and the outbreak appears to be winding down. Homeless individuals and illicit drug users are part of the groups at highest risk for contracting and spreading Hepatitis A.

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