Homeless shelter will stay in East Village
by Anthony Gentile
Published - 11/05/09 - 03:12 PM | 1699 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The San Diego City Council voted last month to again set up the winter homeless shelter downtown despite a choice of 27 proposed sites citywide.

The shelter is likely to be located at 15th Street and Island Avenue, where the shelter was located last year, and details were being worked out at press time.

An alternate site that was being considered was near 13th and F streets in East Village.

“We’ve been hopping from place to place based on availability,” said Rachel Laing, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jerry Sanders’ office. “It’s been an annual contract with the landowners.”

The process of selecting a site for the shelter, which will be open from December through March, encountered a wrinkle this year. In the past, the mayor’s office has submitted a list of potential shelter sites to the City Council, from which council members chose a location. But that is not exactly how things went this year.

“This year, the council didn’t vote and instead said it would like citywide options,” Laing said. “These options were all in the downtown area, and council members didn’t think that was fair. (They said) homelessness is a regional, citywide problem.”

On Aug. 21, the mayor’s chief operations officer sent members of the City Council a memo asking their input on potential sites in their respective districts that met the criteria for the temporary shelter, including a large, flat expanse of land and access to utilities. Every member but District 8 Councilman Ben Hueso responded to the memo, but none of them provided proposed sites within their own districts.

“The reason that all the options given were downtown was because of proximity to existing services,” Laing said.

After receiving those responses, the mayor’s office provided an additional 10 sites to City Council outside the downtown area. The mayor’s office originally provided a list of 17 sites.

“Normally, it happens on the first go-round,” Laing said. “But there are several new council members here.”

Hueso and Kevin Faulconer, whose District 2 includes downtown, voted against the motion. Both expressed that the same neighborhood should not host the shelter each year.
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