A homeless encampment near Market Street in downtown San Diego / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Mayor Todd Gloria and two City Council members are urging the city’s housing agency to shift its approach to avoid missing out on state homeless housing funds.

Our Lisa Halverstadt reveals that Gloria, Council President Sean Elo-Rivera and Councilman Chris Cate sent a Monday memo to the Housing Commission urging its leaders to look beyond hotel acquisitions following the collapse of two projects it recently eyed. The Housing Commission in 2020 used state Project Homekey funds meant to provide a shot in the arm to statewide efforts to house homeless Californians to help buy two hotels.

Now, the three city leaders are asking the Housing Commission to consider options including purchases of abandoned commercial buildings and prefabricated or mobile homes in a last-ditch effort to try to tap the latest crush of state Project Homekey funds. Their push follows struggles to pull together projects amid a tougher real estate market and quick turnaround times required by the state initiative.

The joint memo from Gloria and the two councilmen comes nearly two months after the San Diego region missed an easy shot at $61 million in state money set aside for homeless housing in the region. Halverstadt found the county and other cities in the region also haven’t applied ahead of an expected May 2 state deadline for the latest round of state funds.

Spokespeople for the Housing Commission and county say they are exploring an array of options beyond the hotel purchases in hopes of submitting competitive applications to the state by early May.

Read Halverstadt’s latest story here.

A Clean-Up Job on the Edges of Downtown

Earlier this month, volunteer Brian Trotier and nonprofit Lucky Duck Foundation launched a pilot program to pay residents of homeless camps on the edge of downtown to collect trash. 

Twice a week, waste company EDCO drops off a large dumpster at the corner of 16th and Commercial Streets. Volunteers hand out trash bags and give homeless residents $2 for each bag they fill.

Trotier said the initial days of the project have exceeded expectations. In the project’s first five days, Trotier said homeless residents handed off 585 bags of trash totaling about 9,700 pounds.

Trotier told Voice he originally predicted it would take until April for the group to average 100 bags of trash each day.  Homeless residents picked up 118 bags of trash on the program’s second day.

Homeless residents in the area have long said they’d like the city to install more trash cans to make it easier for them to clean around their makeshift homes, a move many argue could also lessen the need for controversial city clean-up operations.

Richard Horton, who is staying in the area, recently told NBC 7 that he had been frustrated to find overflowing trash bins in the area when he tried to pick up debris. He brought up the issue with Trotier, a retired attorney who championed the pilot program deemed the Triangle Project.

In Other News

  • Health experts are reporting a slight increase of coronavirus levels in San Diego’s wastewater, indicating the possibility of a new surge. “This slight uptick is not something to be alarmed about, but something we’re watching with caution,” Dr. Christopher Longhurst, Chief Medical Officer at UC San Diego Health, told ABC 10News.
  • The North County Transit District will reduce service on its Breeze bus routes starting next month as it deals with a driver shortage. (Fox 5)
  • The Board of Supervisors selected Anthony Ray, an assistant county sheriff who oversees courts and human resources, to serve as the county’s interim sheriff until the winner of the November election takes over. (NBC 7)
  • The city plans to install protected bike lanes on Park Boulevard from Adams Avenue to University Avenue after a city resurfacing project that’s underway is finished. (KPBS)
  • San Diego County’s first wastewater treatment plant went online Tuesday. Pure Water Oceanside is expected to eventually create three to five million gallons per day of local drinking water and could reduce the city’s reliance on imported water by an estimated 20 percent. (NBC 7)
  • Destiny Littleton, a key player on the South Carolina women’s basketball team, spoke with The Ringer about her experience growing up in southeast San Diego and how it helped her become the player she is today.
  • The city’s pension board on Tuesday voted to lower the city’s annual pension payment due to strong investment returns, a change that gives Mayor Todd Gloria more money to work with in the proposed budget he’s set to release next month. (Union-Tribune)

This Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Megan Wood.

Join the Conversation


  1. They homeless crisis is a serious one in California. Although, I think not much can be done about it. Despite the efforts – having a roof over your head is an important one. But what about the mental issues I see out here on these streets. Before you house someone are they mentally ready for that step? Also, of the two agencies mention (SDHC and SD County Housing Authority). Who would you say is doing a better job – if you had to pick one? Just curious..

    1. The two housing agencies are intertwined. The San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) is quasi-independent agency with Commissioners appointed by the mayor and approved by the council. The Housing Authority (HA) is a separate legal entity with the City Council as the governing body but SDHC staff serve as staff for the Housing Authority. ousing Authority projects go to the City Council for final approval. The HA was set up primarily to receive and disperse funding from (federal) HUD including Section 8 certificates, issue tax-exempt bonds and access other specialized housing money. The SDHC can be more flexible and seeks funding from of multiple sources.

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