With one of the largest homeless populations in the United States, San Diego takes a step towards addressing the issue by opening the city’s inaugural “safe sleeping” zones, Your Content has learned.
The initiative, introduced by the Homeless Strategies and Solutions Department, aims to relocate individuals from the streets and provide alternative living arrangements.
Housing up to 150 people in approximately 136 tents, this “low barrier” shelter is managed by the nonprofit organization Dreams for Change, which previously oversaw “safe parking” sites for individuals living in vehicles.
While the facility prohibits weapons, alcohol, and drugs, sobriety is not mandatory.
Essential amenities such as restrooms, meals, and mobile showers will be available to the residents.
Another larger safe-sleeping site is scheduled to open in the autumn, located near the Naval Medical Center in a parking lot.
With an anticipated capacity of 400 tents, the site will provide similar services, including meals, and will be operated by the same organization.
In conjunction with these developments, the city council has also passed a resolution to prohibit tent encampments in all public spaces, with the ban set to take effect later this month.
San Diego has been grappling with a significant homelessness crisis, with the Department of Housing and Urban Development ranking it fourth in the country in terms of homeless population.
In response, the city previously approved a $11 million contract to construct three “bridge shelters” to accommodate those in need.
The goal is to connect, support, and shelter individuals experiencing homelessness, as stated by former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
According to data from the Downtown San Diego Partnership, the number of people living on the streets or in vehicles surpassed 2,000 in April, reaching the highest level in over a decade.
Recent estimates indicate that the figure has surpassed 2,100, emphasizing the urgency of the city’s efforts to provide aid and assistance to those without stable housing, according to FOX.