CONVENTION CENTER SHELTER RESIDENTS TO BE SAFELY RELOCATED, CONTINUE RECEIVING SERVICES
SAN DIEGO – Following through on his commitment to wind down Operation Shelter to Home by the end of March, Mayor Todd Gloria announced today that residents of the operation at the San Diego Convention Center will be safely relocated to the City’s reconfigured shelters, where they will continue receiving a high level of social services.
In April 2020, the Convention Center opened its spacious exhibit halls to serve as a safe, sanitary environment to protect hundreds of individuals experiencing homelessness each night during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for physical distancing, on-site medical care and ongoing testing, and consolidating limited resources among shelter providers. The collaborative effort between the City of San Diego, County of San Diego, Regional Task Force on the Homeless, San Diego Housing Commission and Convention Center has served more than 4,000 individuals and helped nearly 1,300 individuals and 43 families find permanent or longer-term housing.
After a series of extensions due to the pandemic, Operation Shelter to Home is set to conclude this month. All individuals currently sheltering in the Convention Center who have not already moved to permanent housing or longer-term housing options will be safely relocated to another location in the City’s shelter system. Move-out is slated to begin the week of March 22.
“Every San Diegan should take pride in what Operation Shelter to Home accomplished in keeping our homeless neighbors safe, but also ending the cycle of homelessness for hundreds during this pandemic,” Mayor Gloria said. “What this experience has demonstrated is that we can come together to address people’s homelessness. We can create the ecosystem of services and service providers that addresses the needs of the individual. This will now guide our efforts as we move toward ending chronic homelessness.”
The City worked closely with the County, the Housing Commission and service providers Alpha Project and Father Joe’s Villages to reconfigure the City’s homeless shelters to continue to serve the maximum possible number of people per night while also adhering to public-health guidelines for COVID-19 prevention and mitigation. The County will continue to provide ongoing health-related guidance at the shelters.
Approximately 600 people are being moved from the Convention Center to City shelters, including Golden Hall. Some people will also be transitioned to open beds at the Father Joe’s Villages Paul Mirabile Center and PATH Connections interim shelter, which were reconfigured for greater physical distancing and COVID-19 prevention last year, as well as the recently opened Bishop Women’s Shelter.
The following represents the reconfigured capacity and populations to be served in the City’s shelters that were vacated last year:
||Beds (subject to change)
|16th St. and Newton Ave.
|1710 Imperial Ave.
|Golden Hall, Upper Level
||Father Joe’s Villages
||Families & Transition Age Youth
||192 beds / 10 cribs
|Golden Hall, Lower Level
||Father Joe’s Villages
||Adult Men Only
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of shelter residents 65 years of age or older residing in the Convention Center receiving their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and further protecting them from the virus.
What others are saying:
San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher:
“Protecting our unsheltered neighbors from coronavirus has been a collaborative effort for our region. As we enter the next phase, the County is committed to working alongside our new Mayor to ensure sustainable solutions and continued positive outcomes.”
Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn:
“Operation Shelter to Home succeeded in placing hundreds of people into housing because government agencies and nonprofits worked closely together to provide assistance. It shows that continued coordination of services will be key to making real progress in addressing homelessness.”
San Diego Housing Commission President and CEO Richard C. Gentry:
“The San Diego Housing Commission looks forward to continuing to work with Bridge Shelter service providers and the additional organizations involved with Operation Shelter to Home to maintain the collaboration and coordination that made this initiative successful. Protecting the health of this population and helping them on their path to permanent housing will remain important objectives as the Bridge Shelters resume operations.”
Regional Task Force on the Homeless CEO Tamera Kohler:
“Operation Shelter to Home has shown us what we can accomplish when everyone is working together. From the people we are serving, who have helped keep themselves and their neighbors safe, to all the staff providing shelter services, healthcare, housing navigation, meals, and cleaning services, to name a few, this is how we are going to end homelessness in San Diego. We will now incorporate important lessons learned and refined better practices from this effort across our system to focus all efforts toward housing with coordinated supports.”
San Diego Convention Center President and CEO Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe:
“Serving as a temporary home for more than 4,000 San Diegans in-need and working alongside dedicated staff from the City, County, and all our partner organizations was a life-changing experience for our team. We have been honored to host Operation Shelter to Home. As we prepare to return to our primary purpose as an economic generator for this region, we will draw on the additional expertise we have gained in COVID-19 protocols through this effort, supporting our safe reopening.”
Alpha Project President and CEO Bob McElroy:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a trying time for all of our residents and staff as we worked to protect one another and stay healthy. The agencies and leaders who’ve come together to ensure serving homeless San Diegans was a top priority shows the momentum we have as a city to help our neighbors still on the streets each night. Alpha Project is looking forward to moving back to the City’s shelters because that means we’re that much closer to being back to a new normal.”
Father Joe’s Villages President and CEO, Deacon Jim Vargas:
"Through Operation Shelter to Home, Father Joe’s Villages was able to touch the lives of thousands of neighbors in need, helping our neighbors to move off the streets for good and end their homelessness. We are grateful for the swift action of local leadership and support of the community in helping to provide safe shelter to those most vulnerable during this unprecedented time. We look forward to continuing to make a difference through our comprehensive services at the bridge shelter in Golden Hall and the Paul Mirabile and Bishop Maher Interim Shelters."