Nearly three dozen city-funded beds set aside for San Diego police sat empty on Monday as rain fell in San Diego — and it’s not clear exactly why.
Last week, Mayor Todd Gloria’s administration ordered the San Diego Housing Commission to incorporate police into the city’s system that allows outreach workers to place homeless San Diegans into shelters run by multiple providers.
That meant police and outreach workers were essentially competing for the same limited pool of shelter beds, our Lisa Halverstadt reports.
Gloria’s office told Halverstadt that the goal was to ensure police greater access to shelter beds and that no homeless San Diegans were turned away.
Yet, in the days since that change, Alpha Project’s Barrio Logan shelter ended up with more than 30 empty beds after police referrals for beds set aside for them ground to a halt. Meanwhile, the nonprofit said its outreach workers have had a harder time securing shelter beds for those who request them.
Outreach teams for People Assisting the Homeless, the city’s leading outreach provider, also amassed a 50-person waiting list for shelter placements during a time the nonprofit said demand for shelter had already been rising.
After inquiries from VOSD, the direction from Gloria’s office seemed to have changed.
A Gloria spokesman said Tuesday that San Diego police will only essentially compete with city homeless providers for shelter beds when 90 beds set aside for police at both Alpha Project’s Barrio Logan shelter and Father Joe’s Villages’ Paul Mirabile Center are unavailable. He added that placements for non-police beds will be made based on which homeless San Diegans are determined to be most in need, rather than the agency requesting shelter. Another 10 beds set aside for police will remain open to officers for after-hours check-ins.
Gloria’s office and the Housing Commission still haven’t answered Halverstadt’s questions about why the police-controlled beds sat empty.
The Beginnings of a COVID-19 Spending Plan
San Diego Unified voted Tuesday night on how it will begin to spend nearly half of it’s roughly $600 million in COVID relief funds.
The district approved a spending plan for $303 million that will go toward teacher training, devices, and, as the Union-Tribune reported, an as-of-yet unspecified number of new hires.
The largest chunk of money, some $94 million, will go toward “special education case management services to support learning loss,” according to a district document. The exact details of how the money will be spent are unclear.
Former VOSD reporter Ashly McGlone reported in April that half of the COVID relief money in the county’s ten largest districts had, at that time, gone to employee salaries.
Elected Officials Decline to Fast-Track Ballot Proposals
The San Diego City Council Rules Committee reviewed a bunch of proposed ballot measures for the June 2022 primary election and spiked most of them rather than send them along to the City Council for consideration. The committee passed, for instance, on proposals to end the strong mayor form of government and to separate San Ysidro and other South Bay communities from the city.
One of the proposals, proposed by Councilman Chris Cate, was pulled at the last minute and sent back to city staff for further review. It would allow for education and other instruction-based activity as well as childcare to occur in city parks.
Another one of the proposals — the creation of a task force that could advise the city as it studies the feasibility of public power — was instead sent to city staff to consider as a policy matter rather than a ballot measure. That way, Councilman Raul Campillo said, it could be put in place quicker.
In Other News
- The San Diego Association of Governments will consider a proposal Friday requiring drivers to pay a per-mile fee. CBS8 reports that it would help pay for an ambitious $160 billion long-term regional plan, which could also include free public transit.
- We got word Wednesday that the California Supreme Court has decided not to review a petition we filed with KPBS and the Union-Tribune over COVID-19 outbreak location data. An appellate court essentially ruled in July that the county could keep that data secret and Jesse Marx explained why public records attorneys were bothered by it.
- California is preparing to be able to vaccinate as many as one-third of children aged 5 – 11 as early as the end of next week, if the vaccine is approved for that age group. (Los Angeles Times)
This Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, Jesse Marx and Will Huntsberry. It was edited by Megan Wood.