Tuesday, March 01, 2011

San Diego spends $16 million
on permanent downtown homeless center

The annual struggle to find a suitable location in San Diego for an emergency homeless shelter during the year’s coldest months may have been resolved for good Tuesday as city leaders committed $16 million in local taxpayer money to a permanent facility in downtown.

The future conversion of the former World Trade Center building into a one-stop shop to help and house the city’s neediest individuals certainly won’t end homelessness, but proponents say it’s a big step in that direction.

The City Council voted unanimously to support the $32.3 million project by funding half of the initiative with redevelopment tax dollars aimed at eliminating blight in downtown. The remaining costs will be covered by federal tax credits and $2 million from the San Diego Housing Commission.

The center will provide 223 permanent and transitional beds for the region’s homeless population as well as medical, substance abuse and job-training services. It is scheduled to open in December 2012.

The project saw early resistance from business leaders who were concerned the facility would become a magnet for the homeless and lower nearby property values, an area populated with banks, restaurants and office buildings. That opposition faded after a coalition of homeless providers showed a similar facility in Los Angeles didn’t devastate its surroundings.

Read The San Diego Union-Tribune report here.


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