So, no winter homeless shelter?
Today, the City Council tied 4-4 on whether to site this year’s winter shelter at 13th and G streets in the East Village. A tie vote, for now, means no shelter. Council President Ben Hueso, one of the “no” votes, argued that the city needs a more comprehensive approach to homelessness, though he failed to acknowledge that the city’s currently negotiating with the developer of a homeless-services / housing project that will open in 2012 and that there are roughly 500 Downtown supportive-housing units in the pipeline. Kevin Faulconer, whose district includes Downtown, doesn’t want the 220-bed shelter in his district—even though a recent street count found more than 1,000 unsheltered people Downtown and, according to police, crime in East Village drops when the shelter’s open. Faulconer also questioned whether the Housing Commission had vetted all possible sites (see below for the answer to that question). I’m not sure what’s up with Carl DeMaio or Tony Young, the other two “no” votes. I’ll try to find out.
Here’s a statement from the San Diego Housing Commission:
* Under an agreement this past June with the City, the San Diego Housing Commission would provide a site recommendation for the temporary winter shelter program.
* However, the City Council retained sole authority to approve the location for the winter shelter sites.
* Since June, the Housing Commission has vetted sites that can accommodate the winter tent structure that requires a minimum of 32,500 square feet, availability of utility hookups, accessible public transit, and a preference for a City-owned or no cost site.
* Although the recommendation regarding a downtown site for the adult winter shelter program failed on a 4-4 vote of the City Council, the Housing Commission will be requesting a City Council meeting to review the other three items contained in the Board Report of September 8th, CCR-10-005.
* Those items are:
1. Find that a significant number of persons within the City of San Diego are without shelter and that the weather conditions during the cold weather season result in a threat to the health and safety of those persons;
2. Declare a homeless shelter emergency in the City of San Diego; and
3. Approve the FY2011 Homeless Emergency Winter Shelter Program as described in the September 8th report that pertains to the Veteran’s Midway Shelter site.
The Housing Commission is committed to remaining engaged in the homeless shelter process.