CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Chula Vista city officials Thursday broke ground on a new homeless shelter that will feature individual units for singles, couples and small families.

After a pandemic pause, the city is building its first homeless shelter on 27th Street, consisting of 66 individual sleeping quarters for individuals and families up to four. It will also be pet friendly.

“I just need a place to go,” Chula Vista native Mark Diega said. “I do work but it’s hard trying to use the bathroom or cook food. The elements, it’s kind of hard living out here.

Diega has been living in his car since 2011. Before that, he lived with his mother until she died in 2011. Diega said after she was gone, their home was foreclosed upon a couple of months later.

“I’m doing alright now, but I just saw you guys and said, ‘Wow, they are finally doing it,’” Diega said.

The lot will have communal bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities and provide three meals a day.

“We finally have a place to bring our homeless off the streets into transitional housing,” said Angelica Davis, the city’s homeless coordinator.

The units are for temporary use, but there won’t be a time limit for those staying there. The shelter will be operated by City Net, a state-based company that provides services for people experiencing homelessness.

The shelter is intended to be a bridge to permanent housing with City Net expected to provide assistance. City Net will help coordinate services at the shelter such as connecting people with employment opportunities or health care. The facility also will have 24-hour security provided, Chula Vista police say.

“They essentially can begin to catch their breath,” said Brad Fieldhouse, executive director and president of City Net.

The new shelter is expected to be finished by this fall.