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Winter shelter update: Still no shelter

October 14, 2010 - 5:44 pm

Some folks have asked me if there are any updates on San Diego’s winter homeless shelter which, as of now, isn’t happening. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the shelter, proposed to be located on a city-owned vacant lot at 13th and G streets, failed to get five votes of support.

Carl DeMaio, who voted against the proposed site, told me yesterday that he’s working on something, but wouldn’t elaborate beyond that. Steve Peace, the former state senator and current senior advisor to the Padres, said use of the Tailgate Park parking lot is off the table. Last week, City Council President Ben Hueso said the Mayor’s Office was negotiating with the Padres about using the lot—the site of the 2007 shelter. But, Peace said, there are too many hurdles to overcome in too little time: events are booked for Petco Park in December, January and February, and using the parking lot would require renegotiating those contracts.

Maria Velasquez, spokesperson for the San Diego Housing Commission, which oversees homeless services for the city, said she’s not aware of discussions about alternate sites. She said that on Monday, Housing Commission staff will ask the City Council to approve the Veteran’s Village winter shelter, located just outside of Downtown, on Pacific Highway. (The city uses federal housing money to pay for both the Downtown winter shelter, which holds 220 adults, and the veterans shelter, which holds 150.) She said the plan had been to use the recent survey of Downtown’s homeless population to make sure the most vulnerable people were given priority at the shelters.

Finally, I got some stats from the San Diego Police Department showing that during the months the shelter’s up (December through March), crime drops in the area around it. The stats were in response to claims that the shelter is a crime magnet. The first chart shows drunk-in-public arrests and citations; the second shows common arrests and citations associated with homelessness combined with public-disturbance calls.

Drunk in public arrests and citations:

Citations for: drinking in public, open container, illegal lodging, public urination/defecation plus calls reporting a public disturbance:

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