A homeless man’s shoes at an encampment near the Zoo on Park Blvd on September 15, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

This post originally appeared in the Jan. 12 Morning Report. Sign up for the daily newsletter here.

A prominent nonprofit foundation on Wednesday publicly urged the city to set up two large shelter tents to accommodate about 500 unhoused seniors and youth in a largely empty parking lot in Balboa Park.

The Union-Tribune reports representatives of the Lucky Duck Foundation, which previously supplied the city and county with three shelter tents, sat before cameras in a mostly empty Inspiration Point parking lot to announce the proposal and call for the city to crack down on crimes committed by homeless residents. The group also suggested paying unhoused people to pick up trash in Balboa Park.

Mayor Todd Gloria’s office did not comment Wednesday, but downtown City Councilman Stephen Whitburn, who represents the park and is eyeing Inspiration Point and other spaces as potential safe campground sites for unhoused people, told Voice of San Diego he was caught off guard by the announcement.

“It was disappointing to see the Lucky Duck Foundation hold a news conference like this without reaching out to my office,” Whitburn said. “We’ve been actively engaged with community members, service providers and other stakeholders to identify possible locations of safe camping and shelter.”

Housing Commission Chairman Mitch Mitchell told Voice he thinks the city should consider the proposal. He said Housing Commission staff would be prepared to assist if city decision makers decide to proceed.

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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