Plan to build tents to house San Diego homeless endorsed by more than 200 people, including many civic leaders

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — More than 200 civic and business leaders in San Diego have signaled their support for a plan to put up tents as a temporary shelter for the county’s homeless.

The plan was announced last month by Dan Shea, the owner of Donovan’s Steak House and a partner at Paradigm Investment Group, LLC., and Peter Seidler, a  managing partner of the San Diego Padres.

The businessmen sent a description of their plan to put up large industrial tents to some of the county’s most influential citizens. The tents are similar to the ones used by the City of San Diego for the winter shelter program, which was discontinued two years ago. 

When Shea and Seidler gave a briefing on their concept last month, they said they had received pledges of private donations to pay for the purchase of two tents, each housing 250 people.

Shea said he is aware of the model called “housing-first,” which considers permanent supportive housing as the end goal to reduce homelessness. In promoting the idea of the year-round tents, Shea says there is a need to provide other solutions while long term housing is being developed.

“We think “housing first” is the correct long-term solution but if it’s housing-first only, mathematically, some of these people are going to be on the street for 5,7,10 years. What many are people are missing is the fact that there are people out there that need help right now,” Shea said.

The endorsements have come from some big names and power brokers, including developer and philanthropist Malin Burnham, sports announcer Dick Enberg and hotel developer Doug Manchester. 

Homeless advocate Bob McElroy who has built a high rise housing complex for the homeless in downtown San Diego is also endorsing the tent concept.

“These folks are smart business people. They’re not going to put something into something that’s a pig. They’re going to make sure that we do something substantive when it comes to solving homelessness in San Diego,” McElroy said.

The names that are not on the list include many of San Diego’s city leaders, including Mayor Kevin Faulconer, the city’s nine council members and San Diego Housing Commission President and CEO Rick Gentry.  

Categories: Local San Diego News