A 160-bed homeless shelter could open in National City next year after city council approved last week of a conditional use permit for the San Diego rescue mission.
No speakers at the meeting objected to the project, which was supported by four board members. Councilmember Marcus Bush recused himself from the discussion and the vote because he lives near the planned shelter site.
It will be the first of its kind in National City and the second refuge the rescue mission plans to open outside of its headquarters in downtown San Diego.
Rescue Mission President and CEO Donnie Dee said the faith association’s mission is the long-term rehabilitation of the homeless, but he also sees an urgent need for more emergency shelters. due to the many people living outside the county.
The conditional use permit will allow the rescue mission to convert two buildings located at 2400 Euclid Avenue, which had been used by the South Bay Community Church. The rescue mission is in receivership for the property and will raise funds to operate the shelter. No city money will be used for the operation, which city councilor Jose Rodriguez saw as a plus.
“It is an exemplary project, and they do not ask us for resources either, which I find essential,” he said. “A lot of cities have to invest a ton of money, and a ton of their general fund, to solve this problem. I feel like we have to work with organizations that have a primary funding source and look at the homeless in a holistic way to try to solve the problem.
Rodriguez and City Councilor Ron Morrison both said they visited the downtown Rescue Mission headquarters and were impressed with the organization. Morrison said the neighborhood around the mission is not like the East Village, which is several blocks away and has rows of homeless tents on the sidewalks near the villages of Father Joe and other services.
“If it was something like this, I would be fiercely against it,” he said.
A dozen people called to show their support for the project at the remote meeting, many identifying themselves as rescue mission personnel or alumni of the mission program. Several said they were residents of National City.
The rescue mission plans to convert two buildings, one approximately 19,000 square feet and the other approximately 3,300 square feet, to provide shelter and meals in what Dee calls a navigation center, as it will help direct people to services that offer long term solutions. to overcome homelessness.
The shelter will offer 30-day stays for guests, and Dee said extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
In November, Rescue Mission was awarded a contract to operate a 50-bed shelter owned by the Town of Oceanside. City council voted 4-1 in favor of the rescue mission, with Mayor Esther Sanchez voting no after Dee declined an offer from the North County LGBTQ Resource Center to train staff.
The proposal submitted to National City Council differed from that of Oceanside, where the city owned the building and decided which service provider should manage its shelter. The rescue mission will own the property in National City, and the city council’s decision was to allow the nonprofit to convert its land use.
In addition to the new shelters, the rescue mission recently began raising awareness in Little Italy through a partnership with the Little Italy Foundation, which is funding the effort.
Rescue Mission outreach workers will be in Little Italy seven days a week as part of the partnership to provide basic assistance, including help with getting important documents, hygiene items, snacks and clothing.
The new shelters come at a time when other towns in the county are looking for ways to provide shelter for those on the streets. Project Alpha is working with the city of San Diego and the county to open a shelter in the District of Midway for people with addiction and mental illness issues, and Chula Vista City Council last month approved a plan to bring 66 prefabricated units to town. property owned by Faivre Street between 27th Street and Broadway, which will provide temporary accommodation for up to 138 people.
In October, Vista City Council agreed to set up its own shelter, and the Lucky Duck Foundation donated its large, 250-bed tented shelter to any town in the county for use as a winter shelter.