Amy Douglas, 38, plays with her daughter Auroura, 17 months, at the family shelter area on the second floor of Golden Hall on April 8, 2022. Douglas’ husband occupies the top bunk, but the family is happy that they are able to stay together in the same room rather than being separated. / Photo by Peggy Peattie for Voice of San Diego
Amy Douglas, 38, plays with her daughter Auroura, 17 months, at the family shelter area on the second floor of Golden Hall on April 8, 2022. Douglas’ husband occupies the top bunk, but the family is happy that they are able to stay together in the same room rather than being separated. / Photo by Peggy Peattie for Voice of San Diego

For nearly four years, San Diego’s City Hall complex has sheltered hundreds of homeless residents. The city is now planning to move hundreds of people staying in its Golden Hall event space to other locations by the end of the year.

Rachel Laing, a spokeswoman for Mayor Todd Gloria, said the roughly 50 unhoused families now staying at the City Hall facility’s second floor learned Tuesday that they will in the next couple months move into a 42-room Barrio Logan motel the city recently leased if they haven’t yet secured permanent homes. Laing said intakes at the facility are now paused while the city prepares for those moves.

Laing said the city also expects to move transitioned-aged youth and homeless men out of the facility and into yet-to-be-announced locations by the end of the year. Golden Hall is now outfitted with 46 beds for youth ages 16-24 and 324 beds for unhoused men. The city will for now continue to welcome newcomers into those shelter programs.

Laing said the city recently decided that Golden Hall can no longer indefinitely remain a shelter under a temporary use permit it has relied on since 2019.

“We can’t have indefinite shelters in places that are just not made for it,” Laing said. “We’re going to find a better place and move everybody.”

The city last fall temporarily moved more than 350 unhoused residents out of Golden Hall for two weeks of repairs, particularly to address water leaks and other damage.  

Worth Noting: The city last fall inked a contract with Salvation Army for its 32-bed family shelter in Kearny Mesa. 

  • The county reports it has now confirmed seven hepatitis A cases countywide, including five among the unhoused population. That’s up from four cases last week. The county is keeping close tabs on what it now describes as a small spike in cases in the wake of a large outbreak that made national headlines several years ago. A spokesman said the county is continuing to ramp up vaccinations, including at homeless shelters, and has thus far inoculated 194 people to try to combat further spread.

Gloria Wants More State Homeless Funding

Mayor Todd Gloria speaks to an unhoused individual in downtown during the Point in Time Count on Jan. 26, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Mayor Todd Gloria had a stark message for state lawmakers during a trip to Sacramento last week: Deliver more homelessness cash that cities can count on or risk hampering their ability to respond to the state’s foremost problem.

“If you want us to be able to do more, we need more,” Gloria told a state Assembly budget subcommittee. “That’s just the fact of the matter. And I understand the financial realities that this legislature’s staring down right now. But again, is this the biggest issue? If it is, I’d ask you to fund it accordingly.”

As inewsource reported this week, Gloria’s testimony comes as the city and state’s homelessness crises surge. The city has in recent years relied heavily on one-time state grants to fund increasing homeless service offerings, including shelter beds. Gloria and other mayors have argued that the state should pledge funding over a period of years that they can count on.

More recently, Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers have been demanding more accountability as they face a cloudier budget and increasingly visible homelessness statewide. Gloria, who chairs the California Big City Mayors Coalition, promises to continue fighting for funding.

  • Gloria is headed to Sacramento again Wednesday  for a press conference with state Sen. Susan Eggman to announce new behavioral health reform legislation. Gloria pledged to continue to rally for conservatorship reform last year after two key bills Eggman introduced did not pass.

Three Years In, Covid-19 State of Emergency Ends

A Covid-19 vaccine sign can be seen in front of Leo’s Lakeside Pharmacy on Dec. 10, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

It has been almost three years to the day since the first person died of Covid-19 in San Diego County. In the first two years of the pandemic alone more than 6,000 San Diegans died from Covid-related causes, as Voice reported in its series on the pandemic. 

But on Tuesday, the official states of emergency declared by city, county and state officials – which granted them authority to make sweeping public health decisions and access federal funds – finally came to an end. 

Local officials used the state of emergency to wield immense power during the early years of the pandemic. They required many businesses to shut their doors and banned gatherings over certain sizes. They decided when and how schools might reopen. The measures they enforced were designed to slow a pandemic which killed thousands of people and, at times, threatened to overrun local hospital capacity. 

Back in 2020 we laid out which local officials were given special powers during the state of emergency

As time went on, the pandemic became highly politicized.

“Politics has inserted itself so much into Covid that we have not developed the preparedness over time,” one epidemiologist told CBS 8

Politics didn’t just play out in health policies. They were also closely related to death rates. 

Republicans became significantly more likely to die from the virus after vaccines became widely available, as Jesse Marx and Will Huntsberry reported in January. 

Inside the Schools Guide: How to Find an After-School Program 

Children play outside during a YMCA after-school program at Wolf Canyon Elementary School in Chula Vista on Nov. 29, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

This week we published our 2023 Parent’s Guide to San Diego Schools. 

The guide provides county-wide school performance data, after-school program information and more. Our reporters also decode common school jargon and programs so families can make the right choice for their children. 

We partnered up with UC San Diego Extension’s Center for Research and Evaluation to gather data on school enrollment, chronic absenteeism, teacher experience information and more for most schools in the county. Dig into the data here. 

Story spotlight: Voice contributor Kate Murphy rounded up resources for families interested in securing after-school care for their children. Murphy writes that finding a program, and getting into one, can be tricky. But don’t worry she pulled together a comprehensive list to help parents navigate what’s available across the region. Read the story here. 

To download the free guide click here. 

Todos los artículos en la Guía de Escuelas para Padres 2023 están disponibles en español. Lee historias de la guía aquí.

In Other News 

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, Will Huntsberry and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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