San Diego residents speak out against proposed 1,000-bed mega homeless shelter

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Some people in the San Diego community on Sunday voiced their opposition to a proposed large homeless shelter near Kettner Boulevard and Vine Street in the Middletown area of San Diego.

“Our major issues are safety and security,” said Kevin Arnold, President of the San Diego Neighborhood Coalition, which describes itself as a community advocacy group.

Along with raising concerns about safety, people in the community took issue with the cost of the project.

“It’s going to cost the taxpayers $3.5 billion, number two, the developer is going to get paid $1.9 million per year on this lease,” Arnold said.

A city spokesperson confirmed to NBC 7 that retrofitting the 65,000-square-foot vacant commercial building at Kettner Boulevard and Vine Street would cost an estimated $18 million, and that San Diego would need to initially spend $30 million per year for its operation, not including $1.9 million annually for a 35-year lease.

“It is inhumane to leave folks on the sidewalk. It is far better to get them indoors, connected to care,” Mayor Todd Gloria said shortly after the project was announced.

The proposed shelter would include:

  • 1,007 beds
  • 5,060-square-foot kitchen
  • 67 showers
  • 67 restrooms
  • Outdoor dining areas for 180 people
  • Smoking area
  • Pet relief area
  • 1,200-square-foot outdoor play area

Local leaders expressed confidence in the plan's success.

“I believe this will be successful because we’ve done it before. You remember in the depths of the pandemic we converted our convention center into a very large homeless shelter that served over 1,000 people a day in that environment,” Mayor Gloria said.

Arnold and others are planning next steps if the proposal moves forward.

“The next step is going to be a lawsuit. If they go ahead with this property, we are going to be preparing to file a lawsuit against the City of San Diego,” Arnold said.

If approved by the full city council, the city hopes to open the doors at Kettner and Vine by early 2025.

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