SAN DIEGO — A Grand Jury report filed in May focuses on issues concerning the lack of available public restrooms in downtown San Diego.
“There’s not enough bathrooms for homeless people, but there’s not enough bathrooms just for our citizens and certainly not for the tourists,” Homeless advocate Michael McConne said.
McConnell says it’s about time the city stepped up to address the issue.
“When folks don’t have sanitary places to go to the bathroom or wash their hands, we had that huge Hepatis A outbreak, so it’s just public health,“ McConnell said.
On Thursday, the Community and Neighborhood Services Committee met up to go over the report. It includes eight findings and eight recommendations directed to the mayor and city council.
Finding one says current restroom facilities in the downtown area are inadequate to provide 24/7 public access. The city agrees with this finding.
“It’s not always easy to find a restroom, we can do better,” Council President Sean-Elo Rivera said. “We are doing better, and we need to continue to push to provide access.”
However, on the recommendation to form a team to develop a plan, budget and funding for permanent bathrooms — the city says it would not implement it as it is not warranted.
“I think they’re conflating this with is our homelessness crisis, we have too many people living on our streets,“ Mayor Todd Gloria said.
Gloria says the solution to homelessness is building more homes not bathrooms.
“Conflating and confusing the issue adds more challenges to us trying to solve this issue,” Gloria said. “Yes, we need to have public restrooms, the city is working on that, but what we have is a homeless crisis, that’s not just about bathrooms.”
“He’s right in the fact that homelessness isn’t caused by lack of bathrooms, but having thousands of people living on your street increases the need for public bathrooms,” McConnell said.
The Grand Jury filed the report on May 24. Extension granted to provide response to Superior Court Presiding Judge by Nov. 10, 2023.