Winter homeless shelter headed back to Barrio Logan

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The City Council gave final approval Monday to the location of a temporary winter homeless shelter, despite the objection of the councilman who represents the area.

On a 7-1 vote, the council decided to put the shelter on an open lot in Barrio Logan, at Newton Avenue at 16th Street, close to where it was last winter.

Councilman David Alvarez, who represents the neighborhood, said the shelter will be in his district for the ninth time in 11 years.

“The truth is no other neighborhood in this city would accept the homeless shelter and we all know it,” said Alvarez, who cast the lone dissenting vote. “Sometimes I think you have to say `no' to be heard.”

He said city officials for too long have considered Barrio Logan residents to be “expendable.”

Councilwoman Sherri Lightner told Alvarez that if he found an alternative, he could present it and ask for reconsideration, if there is enough time.

The San Diego Housing Commission, which administers the winter shelter program, studied a number of other locations but found the only other one to meet minimum standards was a parking lot in the East Village that is slated to become a park.

Council members wanted to pick a location quickly for the facility, which is scheduled to be run from Nov. 18 to March 20, to avoid what has annually been a last-minute frenzy to fix a site, while overcoming opposition by neighbors.

The San Diego Police Department reported that crime actually went down while the shelter was operating in a nearby building that is going to be renovated into a school, necessitating the site change.

City officials hope it will be the last winter shelter they need to run, because a downtown building scheduled for renovation is slated to become a permanent homeless facility.

The council also approved a winter shelter for homeless military veterans, operated by Veterans Village of San Diego, at its usual site off Pacific Highway in Loma Portal.

Categories: KUSI