Expect the spiraling homelessness issue to dominate the contents of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s annual “State of the City” address on Jan. 11, 2023.
The problem has lots of moving parts. Unfortunately, the puzzle pieces are proving difficult to fit together. What’s to become of a plan to create a “safe campground” site in downtown? Why do unsheltered numbers keep going up? And, who will pitch in to do the next big count of local people experiencing homelessness?
In other less dire but still newsworthy downtown notes: The Guild Hotel is attempting a re-resurrection; Joe’s Crab Shack gets the mallet; and breakfast is served on Cortez Hill.
Camp Concept Grounds to a Halt
A majority of organizations with a stake in downtown have been pushing for a common-sense “safe campground” concept. A plan that would have favored unsheltered seniors getting a mini-village has been shelved by the city’s Housing Commission.
The problem: disagreement over adequate funding.
Alpha Project had been tapped to operate the proposed campground, which would have served about 40 seniors and provided amenities and wraparound support services to those in the program.
Now it’s back to the drawing board.
Meanwhile, the Downtown San Diego Partnership reports that the unsheltered population has surged to 1,839 as of December 2022. That’s 133 more folks than were counted by DSDP the previous month.
The 2022 “Point in Time Count” of Greater San Diego homelessness put the number of homeless individuals at 8,427 (most definitely a low-ball figure). That includes sheltered and unsheltered people who could be found by volunteers last year.
San Diego ranks fifth in the nation for largest homeless population.
The San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness is looking for more volunteers to help collect data in this year’s count. This federally mandated activity serves as the official count of local homelessness. It also helps San Diego qualify for federal funding.
The PITC happens overnight on January 26, 2023. To register to participate, go to: #WeAllCount.
Most experts agree that affordable housing is at the core of the homelessness problem. To that point, a company called Impact Housing promises to deliver 1,330 pre-fabricated, low-cost, modular homes to San Diego.
Just east of downtown in the Stockton neighborhood, 34 units are being built now and should be live-able by summer.
A three-bedroom unit within the development will start at $2,500. (Just try to find a one-bedroom in that price range in downtown San Diego.) For more info, go to: Impact Housing.
Guild Hotel, Take 2
The grand opening of the remodeled, $80-million Guild Hotel on West Broadway happened a year before the pandemic. Before the property (on the former site of the historic Army-Navy YMCA) could find its place on the map, 2020 quarantine killed its hospitality and food-and-beverage business.
The 162-room property is ready to give it another go. The Guild has teamed with Be Saha Hospitality Group (Wormwood) to take over F&B operations. (More info: The Guild Hotel)
Joe’s Gotta Go
Joe’s Crab Shack is soon to depart the rarely busy restaurant space located on the bayside of the San Diego Convention Center. The site was a Chart House in the 1980s and became a casual seafood eatery in 2002.
It’s an out-of-the-way (albeit sweet, 9,000-square-foot location with a wrap-around balcony over the bay) spot that could get a business spark as crowds discover the joy of attending music shows at the proximal, newly built Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.
Most Important Meal of the Day
The historic El Cortez high-rise building has a new street-level restaurant. Opened late last year, Cali Breakfast is a cafe-style eatery that serves breakfast and lunch and offers a Bloody Mary Bar and other brunchy alcoholic concoctions.
The site was long open as Italian offering Sole Luna, and was one of few eatery options available atop Cortez Hill. (More info: Cali Breakfast) SDSun