SAN DIEGO — Inclement weather shelters opened up Thursday to help the homeless caught in the storm.
Some homeless advocates say those shelters are not enough as hundreds of homeless live near the San Diego Riverbed, with some being forced out from the storm due to rushing water.
“There’s people coming up to me,” homeless advocate Michael McConnell said. “They’re soaked. I mean they don’t even have a jacket. There’s some people who had to flee the riverbed without even their shoes because the water is rising.”
The San Diego River Park Foundation estimates about 400 homeless live along the riverbed. Homeless advocate Michael McConnell has been raising funds to help them with emergency supplies because he says city services aren’t enough.
“Replacing tents, providing sleeping bags, blankets, food certainly and just trying to make things a little bit better for folks who always have it rough, because they’re sleeping outside, but it’s been really rough here with the rain,” McConnell said.
But the City of San Diego provides three “Inclement Weather Shelters,” including one at Father Joe’s Villages.
“We definitely hear people say thank you, that this would be a colder, wet night if they didn’t have this Inclement Weather Shelter,” said Jesse Casement with Father Joe’s Villages.
The shelters are activated when the temperature is 50 degrees or below and there is a 40% chance of rain. It is also activated when the temperature is 45 degrees or below and during exceptional weather conditions.
“This weather event has been significant,” Casement said. “We’ve seen a lot of rain. It’s been cold and so on the nights where the activation is hit, we’re able to open up 95 extra beds here on the Father Joe’s Villages.”
According to Father Joe’s Villages, on average 30 homeless clients take advantage of their Inclement Weather Shelter each night.