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Tomorrow, March 31, 2010 hundred of homeless citizens will be kicked out into the streets of San Diego as the Emergency Winter Shelter Program closes down its two shelters based upon a misinterpretation of California Redevelopment Law.
In San Diego, the homeless shelters are paid with Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds only, because according to CCDC, Redevelopment Funds can only pay for “bricks and mortar” buildings, not homeless shelters or services which reduce blighted conditions and urban decay. CCDC believes that tax increment money can be spent for flower pots, pedestrian signage, lighting, windows, doors, tile, storefronts, canopies and awnings but not for Homeless Services or public restrooms.
This confusion of whether Redevelopment Funds can be used to keep homeless shelters and services year round and pay for portable restrooms could be cleared up by a city attorney legalopinion, but only if a City Councilmember or a City Department requests the legal advice. You can read Redevelopment Law Section 33021.1 which specifically deals with providing emergency shelters for homeless persons and households here.
Section 33021.1. In a city and county, Redevelopment includes improving, increasing, or preserving emergency shelters for Homeless persons or households. These shelters may be located within or outside of established redevelopment project areas. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, only redevelopment funds other than those available pursuant to Section 33334.3 may be used to finance these activities.
A new study on the cost of first-time homeless was just released by HUD and shows that permanent supportive housing costs less per month than emergency shelter beds.
Please read our report that discusses using the 80 percent of redevelopment funds, not the 20 percent set aside for permanent affordable housing, and the soon to be closed Midway Post Office for providing the homeless in San Diego with shelter and services and paying for portable restrooms throughout the city instead of funding the blight reducing flower pots.