The rollercoaster of news surrounding downtown San Diego homelessness got a small but positive upswing with the addition of 20 new emergency shelter beds for youths at the center run by Urban Street Angels.
Officials say youths will begin moving in by mid to late February 2023. The shelter is located on Fifth Avenue at the site of the former Toussaint Academy, which closed in 2016.
The new beds were a collaboration between the City and County of San Diego, as well as the Lucky Duck Foundation and Price Philanthropies.
The effort garnered a “Shamrock” award for the city and the county from the Lucky Duck Foundation.
Late last year, the foundation began a “Shamrocks and Shipwrecks” recognition program that shines a spotlight on both positive and ineffective efforts by political entities regarding homelessness.
The city has now racked up two Shamrocks and three Shipwrecks. The county has two Shamrocks and one Shipwreck.
Lucky Duck Executive Director Drew Moser was cautiously optimistic about the recent designations.
“We’re encouraged by this step forward by the city and county,” he says. “That said, this type of effort must be replicated exponentially. Instead of 20 beds, the city can and should add 250 beds.”
Lucky Duck recently outlined its proposal to add at least 500 emergency beds at Inspiration Point near Balboa Park.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s office did not reply to an email seeking comment about collecting a Shamrock from Lucky Duck.
Mayor Gloria hasn’t signaled support for the Inspiration Point shelter tent idea, but San Diego City Councilmember Stephen Whitburn seems to be leaning in that direction. Whitburn unveiled a proposal to both crack down on street homelessness and accommodate the unhoused in a large shelter tent and safe camping sites. Stay tuned. (Voice of San Diego)
In The Trenches With Nathan Fletcher
County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher has unveiled the latest campaign to end veteran homelessness in San Diego County. More details are scheduled to be released in April. (You know the drill: Stay tuned.) According to last year’s local Point in Time Count, the region has nearly 700 homeless veterans. Fletcher, who is a veteran, recently threw his beret into the race for the State Senate seat Toni Atkins is leaving due to term limits.
Mayor Gloria’s Secret Sauce
New York City TV news show Inside The Issues recently featured Mayor Gloria and asked about his “secret sauce” in efforts to abate homelessness (which is growing, especially downtown). The mayor honestly stated that every 10 people who are housed after being unsheltered are currently being replaced on the street by 13 new people. The TV program focused on San Diego’s record–recently noted in the Los Angeles Times–of using 100% of its emergency housing vouchers. (Inside The Issues)
Words From Former Mayor Faulconer
Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer oversaw the building of a rock garden so unsheltered folks couldn’t sleep under a downtown underpass. While in office, he restricted the availability of public bathrooms, leading to an outbreak of hepatitis A. The disease killed dozens and sickened hundreds of locals. He’s now a talking head on local independent outlet KUSI-TV. Asked by KUSI’s Good Morning San Diego anchors about the current state of homelessness, Faulconer said:
“It’s time for a sense of urgency and action to get people off the street, to intervene, to increase the shelter system, and make it very clear we’re not going to accept people living in tents, on our sidewalks or in our public spaces.” (KUSI)
Next up: George Santos reveals his plan for using SpaceX technology to build homeless shelters on the moon.
This Just In: Hep A Pops Back Up
San Diego County health officials are keeping an eye on a handful of new hepatitis A cases around the region. One unhoused person has died. (Voice of San Diego)