3 new tents to help San Diego’s homeless

SAN DIEGO – There is a new effort to help San Diego’s growing homeless population.

San Diego Padre’s managing partner Peter Seidler on Monday gathered with a local charity dedicated to helping the homeless to make the announcement.

“This is what we know as the best in class and most impactful way to help the homeless,” said Seidler.

He and restaurant mogul Dan Shea, co-owner of Donovan’s steakhouses, are teaming up to provide temporary housing for the homeless.

Seidler and Shea are working with the Lucky Duck Foundation to fund and erect two tents that will provide shelter for more than 700 people.

The two tents will be located at 16th and Newton Avenue, and 14th and Commercial Street in the East Village.

For the past year, Seidler and Shea have been holding meetings and symposiums to brainstorm ways to address San Diego’s homeless problem.

“We looked at it as an example, converting the old library, but that building was built to be a library. It doesn’t have bathrooms, showers,” said Seidler.

So they came up with the solution of tents. Each tent costs an estimated $750,000.  It will be a place the homeless can sleep, wash-up, eat and even get much-needed services.

“There are so many examples of former homeless people getting a helping hand and making a big u-turn in life,” said Seidler.

Seidler himself is contributing $2.5 million to the Lucky Duck Foundation. The foundation will also hold a matching gift campaign. Altogether, already raising some $4 million.

Seidler said since he spends much of his time working at Petco Park, he sees the problem first hand.

“For years and years I’ve run into homeless people and just been slowly tugged towards them,” said Seidler.

He and his partners said they know the tents are only temporary and once again called for a permanent low-income housing solution.

“If we don’t do it with a housing first strategy we’re fooling ourselves,” said Seidler.

Until that strategy is in place, Seidler said he and his team are committed to helping.

“We’re not going to make an announcement up here, disappear and play golf for the next two years,” said Seidler. “We are committed to be on this as long as I have two feet and am walking around on this planet.”

There is also a third tent structure in the Midway area, likely to be funded by the city. The city council is expected to vote on funding Tuesday.

All three tents are expected to be erected and serving homeless by the end of the year.