February 25, 2024
Property

Former hotel property being used as short-term shelter for San Diego flood victims – NBC 7 San Diego


A former hotel property on Midway Drive in San Diego that is newly-owned by the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) is being used as a short-term shelter for people who lost their homes in the recent flooding.

“We were able to quickly ask the state for some emergency waivers to use this as an emergency shelter to respond to support storm victims,” Lisa Jones, president and CEO of SDHC, told NBC 7 while explaining it is a 30-day waiver.

According to Jones, SDHC closed on the property on Jan. 26, which was “perfect timing” to be able to put it to good use quickly. There are 63 rooms on site, and after inspection, 59 of them are available to families.

The outside of the hotel-turned-shelter being used to temporarily house flood victims in San Diego. Feb. 4, 2024.

“We opened [Saturday] about noon, so 30 families moved in between noon and seven last night,” Jones added.

The shelter, being run by the Alpha Project, is expected to fill up by the end of Sunday or Monday, Jones said. Those who are staying there are mostly people who connected with SDHC at local assistance centers, including the one operated by the city of San Diego that opened Saturday in the Mountain View neighborhood.

“We are not requiring documents right now. We are asking what their previous address was, what happened, what their experience was, did they lose their housing due to the recent storms and flooding, and, if that’s the case, do they have nowhere else to go,” Jones said.

According to the most recent numbers at the time of NBC 7’s conversation with Jones, SDHC has met with about 220 families and 136 of them needed emergency housing. She estimates, from SDHC’s numbers and numbers from other organizations, that roughly 500 households have reached out in need of shelter.

When asked if there are enough accommodations for everyone who needs it, Jones said their plan is to not turn anyone away.

“Over a dozen hotels we have under contract, so it’s not a voucher. We don’t hand people a voucher. We do a direct placement, then we pay on the back-end for that hotel stay,” she said.

Jones explained that SDHC is not necessarily set up to provide this kind of emergency, temporary housing, but they are hoping there will be financial support down the road.

“Really focusing on getting people stabilized in some kind of safe environment, then going back and collecting information that we might need to work with the county, city, FEMA reimbursement, those things to kind of identify how we can sort of backfill some of the funding that we’re putting out now,” Jones said. 

The Midway Drive property was purchased, in part, through funding from the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Homekey program. It will eventually become permanent affordable housing units with supportive services for people who are experiencing homelessness.



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