San Diego – As part of his concentrated efforts to provide safe and sanitary living conditions for homeless individuals, clean public spaces and help stop the regional spread of hepatitis A, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer announced today the creation of a Transitional Camp Area that will provide refuge to the people living on the streets.
“While we work to open more shelters, this transitional camp area will provide hundreds of homeless men and women a safe and clean space as an alternative to living on the sidewalk,” Mayor Faulconer said. “No one should be sleeping in a public place in unsanitary conditions. This site is one more way we’re working to help our most vulnerable and reduce homeless encampments in our neighborhoods. We are cleaning up our city.”
The Transitional Camp Area will open Monday and have on-site 24-hour security, showers, bathrooms, handwashing stations and storage. It will be operated by the nonprofit Alpha Project like a typical campground with rules and regulations and an on-site manager. Each person will register and be assigned a 13-foot-by-13-foot campsite, but each space can accommodate one or more individuals.
The 136-space Transitional Camp Area – to be located in the parking lot at the City Operations Yard at 20th and B streets – will provide a safe and sanitary space for more than 200 homeless individuals while the City continues sanitation efforts in downtown and other neighborhoods to eradicate the hepatitis A virus.
Mayor Faulconer ordered the relocation of certain City operations, personnel and vehicles from the yard to make the site available. This short-term solution will remain open until the three temporary bridge shelters announced last month by Mayor Faulconer are up and running.
“We’ve been pushing for safe camping because homeless on streets and in canyons is not a solution in any neighborhood, and the communities I represent have felt that acutely,” said Councilmember Chris Ward, Chair of the City’s Select Committee on Homelessness. “This Transitional Camp Area – especially as our sanitation efforts continue to address public health concerns – provides people a place to go rather than just moving them from place to place. We must continue pursuing additional locations throughout the city, and work with our regional partners and nearby cities for a comprehensive solution that keeps communities safe and continues moving our homeless off the streets and into safe conditions.”
The City is working with vendors and service providers to open one or more of the temporary bridge shelters by early winter. The locations are:
- The parking lot on Father Joe’s Villages campus at 14th and Commercial Streets in the East Village.
- A vacant lot near the 2700 block of Sports Arena Boulevard (behind the Goodwill store) in the Midway District to be run by the Veterans Village of San Diego.
- A vacated street at 16th Street and Newton Avenue with a shelter operated by Alpha Project.
Bridge shelters are an innovative approach that reflect best practices in serving the most vulnerable members of the homeless population. They serve as a crucial transition point where housing navigators will work with men and women without shelter to find them a permanent housing placement.