A teenager looks for the men carrying the next teepee pole to be added to the frame, while Guillermo Aranda surveys the group's progress./ Photo by Jakob McWhinney
A teenager looks for the men carrying the next teepee pole to be added to the frame, while Guillermo Aranda surveys the group's progress./ Photo by Jakob McWhinney

For nearly 30 years, the organization Izcalli has worked to educate largely indigenous, immigrant and Chicano at-risk youth about their cultural heritage. The organization started as a Saturday school for students in San Diego County but has since run restorative justice and healing circles in schools throughout the region. 

Over the years, Izcalli has developed new traditions, drawing from a variety of indigenous practices passed on to the founders by their elders. One of those traditions is the annual men’s gathering, or Círculo De Hombres, a three day ceremony during which attendees camp out on Kumeyaay land about an hour east of San Diego. It’s intended to not only stimulate attendees spiritually, but to give them new ways to express themselves and deal with trauma.

Education reporter Jakob McWhinney spent some time with the group. He writes that Izcalli has also turned out to be an incubator for a new generation of educators and facilitators of change. 

Many of its founders work in or around education, and a number of longtime participants have gone on to pursue careers in education themselves. And some of those longtime participants credit the education and tools they’ve received from Izcalli with inspiring that pursuit.

Read more here. Subscribe to The Learning Curve newsletter here.

City, County Awarded State Project Homekey Funds After Initial Miss

San Diego plans to bolster its efforts to house homeless residents with state Project Homekey funds. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The San Diego region will receive $11.8 million in state homeless housing funds for a 40-unit supportive housing project in El Cerrito months after missing an initial deadline for roughly $61 million reserved for county projects.

Mayor Todd Gloria and County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher announced Wednesday that the county, the city’s Housing Commission and developer Path Ventures were awarded state Project Homekey funds meant to bolster efforts to house homeless Californians.

After Voice of San Diego reported on the initial whiff in February, city and county officials hustled to get a single funding application in just before the state’s early May deadline for local governments to pursue Homekey dollars.

City and Housing Commission leaders have said they intend to be more proactive about lining up potential homeless-serving projects before future funding materializes so the city can make the most of it. The state is expected to put out another call for Project Homekey applications later this year.

County supervisors this spring separately committed about $11 million to support development, future services and operating costs for the El Cerrito project. The city has also pledged more than $2 million in state Senate Bill 2 funds it has received plus 40 vouchers to help cover the rent for the complex’s future residents.

Chula Vista to Spend $350,000 Shutting Down a Tent City 

The Chula Vista City Council agreed to temporarily shut down Harborside Park, which has served as a tent city for unsheltered folks on the westside. As KPBS reports, Councilmember John McCann called for the park’s closure, arguing that it would protect children and stop the “normalizing” of drug use. 

Police said the park has received a significant number of calls for service and crews routinely pick up trash and feces (some restrooms also appeared to be closed). 

But advocates warn that displacing the dozens of people who live there is a counterproductive decision because they’ll be forced to spread out in residential neighborhoods. The park is next to the San Diego County Health and Human Services building and the city’s bridge shelter isn’t expected to open until the end of this year.

The Union-Tribune also noted that there’s a Walmart and trolley station nearby. Officials said they’ll hold a “connect event” to offer people services that might be helpful to their specific needs after the park closes next week.

The cost of fencing and security to prohibit access: $350,000. 

In Other News 

  • The Union-Tribune reports the federal Inflation Reduction Act extends subsidies for electric vehicles and solar but doesn’t include childcare. At a forum in Encinitas, officials spoke of the need for tax credits and workforce training. The annual cost of childcare is more than college tuition and the wages are low, causing high turnover.
  • A new developer will revive the long-stalled but ambitious upgrades to Otay Mesa’s Brown Field airport. Meanwhile, U.S. and Mexico officials broke ground on the second border crossing at Otay Mesa, which is expected to open in 2024. (Union-Tribune) 
  • Military families facing long waitlists for on-base housing options and housing allowance amounts that haven’t caught up to exploding rent prices are having to dip into their pay to afford a place to live. That could amount to $20,000 spent out-of-pocket for one family transferred to San Diego. (AP)
  • The long-awaited revitalization of Chula VIsta’s bayfront officially kicked off last month with a ground-breaking ceremony for the massive Gaylord Pacific Resort, a billion-dollar hotel and convention center. But now, a developer is proposing building an entertainment and sports complex across the marina. (NBC7)
  • Amid an escalation of tensions and the torching of cars in Tijuana, the body of a murdered woman was found on Tuesday next to threats to police and a message to Montserrat Caballero, the city’s mayor. Caballero responded that she trusted Tijauana’s prosecutor and had no fear for her life. (Telemundo)

The Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney, Lisa Halverstadt and Jesse Marx. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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