Temporary homeless shelter in Golden Hill to close soon
SAN DIEGO – The nonprofit that operates a temporary homeless camp in Golden Hill is aiming to shutter the facility by the end of this week, officials said Monday.
Most of the residents have been transferred to a new industrial-sized tent recently erected in Barrio Logan, while others — including families with children — have been placed in housing, according to Amy Gonyeau, chief operating officer of the Alpha Project.
At a meeting of the City Council’s Select Committee on Homelessness, Gonyeau said eight people are left at the facility, which is set up in the parking lot of a city operations yard at 20th and B streets, just south of the Balboa Park golf course.
Jonathan Herrera, who spearheads homelessness programs for the mayor’s office, said the residents at the encampment were among the city’s most vulnerable, including 21 families with children.
The facility was opened on Oct. 9 during the height of an outbreak of hepatitis A that struck the homeless population hard and resulted in 20 deaths. As many as 214 people a night stayed in 136 standard tents, Herrera said.
He said the city is now making the transition to what officials call “bridge shelters,” large tents where the homeless will be housed, provided with supportive services and ultimately moved on to more permanent solutions.
“Counselors, case managers and housing navigators will be on site to work with each client from day one to develop a person-centric strategy to getting them housed, as well as to make connections with the resources they need to address any underlying issues that may contribute to their homelessness,” Herrera said.
Two other large tent shelters are scheduled to open in the next few weeks, one in the East Village and the other in the Midway District.
“In total, these three bridge shelters will provide a new beginning and a fresh start for more than 700 homeless San Diegans at any given time,” Herrera said.
He said the goal will be to move them into more permanent housing within 120 days.
Herrera added that roughly 280 people are being served at a couple of “safe parking” sites, where people living in their vehicles can stop overnight in a secure area. Many of those are families, as well, he said.