Plan would turn Chargers Park in Murphy Canyon into homeless shelter

SAN DIEGO — Two San Diego City Council members announced Friday they plan to push next week for a temporary shelter for the homeless in Murphy Canyon.

Council members Lorie Zapf and David Alvarez said they will hold a news conference Monday to request that a shelter be erected at the Chargers old training facility along Murphy Canyon Road, not far from SDCCU Stadium.

The complex, owned by the city, has sat unused since the Chargers moved to Los Angeles. The facility is included in some of the proposals for redeveloping the stadium site, but it’s likely to remain vacant for at least a couple of years.

In announcing the news conference, Zapf and Alvarez said there’s been “an explosion of homeless encampments” along the nearby San Diego River. They called the situation “an environmental nightmare” that could prove dangerous with the approach of the rainy season.

Councilman Scott Sherman, who represents Mission Valley, has referred numerous times in public statements to the discovery in April of a trash-filled encampment beside the river that included a bicycle chop-shop, stolen items and human waste. Sherman is not scheduled to take part in the news conference.

Last month, volunteers with the San Diego River Park Foundation counted more than 100 homeless encampments along the waterway, almost double the amount tallied last year.

There have also been anecdotal reports of homeless people, driven out of downtown San Diego as the city and county took steps to deal with a hepatitis A outbreak, migrating north to the river.

Zapf and Alvarez scheduled their announcement not long after the San Diego Housing Commission voted to shuffle $6.5 million to fund industrial-sized tent shelters in Barrio Logan, the East Village and Midway District. The first could open late next month.