Lines of tents occupied the sidewalks alongside the old Central Library early Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. / Photo by Peggy Peattie for Voice of San Diego

This post originally appeared in the Jan. 4 Morning Report. Sign up here.

The city expects to welcome homeless San Diegans to sleep in its old Central Library later this month.

Mayor Todd Gloria’s office said the city is preparing the long-vacant downtown library to accommodate 26 beds this winter and to get final approval from the fire marshal to shelter unhoused residents there.

The city has also secured a contract with the National Alliance on Mental Illness San Diego to operate the shelter, Gloria spokeswoman Rachel Laing wrote in an email.

For now, Laing said, the city hopes to open the shelter by mid-January.

City moves to proceed with the temporary shelter plan for a portion of the old library follow a Superior Court judge’s December ruling clearing a century-old deed restriction that snarled past redevelopment plans. (ICYMI, we broke this news and provided more history late last month.)

The former downtown library has sat empty since 2013 when the city opened a new Central Library nearby. Gloria’s office has said the Superior Court decision now frees up the city to consider the “best use for the building and land in the long-term.”

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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