Lisa Pederson looks in the mirror at Alpha Project in the East Village on April 4, 2023.
Lisa Pederson looks in the mirror at Alpha Project in the East Village on April 4, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

As the city has ramped up its shelter offerings for various segments of its homeless population, one group thus far hasn’t been singled out.

As Tianrui Huang reports, the city historically hasn’t funded homeless shelters specifically for LGBTQ+ San Diegans despite national research showing they are disproportionately represented in the unhoused population. Meanwhile, unhoused adults in the local LGBTQ+ community who spoke with Huang said city shelters can be uncomfortable and unsafe.

Today, the San Diego Housing Commission is set to vote on a contract with the San Diego LGBT Community Center to operate a shelter and outreach program for runaway and homeless teens that’s set up to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ clients.

Councilman Stephen Whitburn said he also plans to rally for the city to fund an LGBTQ-focused non-congregate shelter during upcoming city budget discussions.

Read the full story here.

MTS Has Known of Fletcher Concerns Since February

Last week, the spotlight turned to the Metropolitan Transit System after one of its former employees alleged agency managers fired her after she endured months of sexual harassment from Nathan Fletcher, the county supervisor and former chairman of MTS. The agency released a statement claiming that it had fired Grecia Figueroa for “performance concerns” and officials didn’t know until last week about her claims.

“The filing of Ms. Figueroa’s lawsuit on March 28, 2023 was the first time that MTS executive management was provided with the specific details of Ms. Figueroa’s allegations,” the statement read.  

That’s not the full story. The lawsuit did have many specific details about what Figueroa says occurred but MTS staff had known for six weeks that a complaint about sexual harassment and assault involving Fletcher was coming. Wednesday, Voice of San Diego obtained the demand for records letter Figueroa’s lawyer sent to both MTS and Fletcher Feb. 17.

It was pretty specific: It listed her potential legal claims against Fletcher and MTS addressing them directly “including allegations that YOU: (1) discriminated against MS. FIGUEROA; (2) sexually harassed MS. FIGUEROA; (3) sexually assaulted MS. FIGUEROA; and (4) retaliated against MS. FIGUEROA because she complained or otherwise protested against sexual harassment that was perpetrated against her;”

The board of directors of MTS is meeting this morning for a special closed session. The acting chair, Whitburn, has said he will press for an independent investigation.

At least one board member is not pleased with how information has been coming out.

“I’m deeply concerned that MTS may have known about this in Feb. 17 and yet I found out about it in the media. We’re going to address that [Thursday] morning and find out why. I know I’m not the only board member who has the same concerns,” said Marcus Bush, a City Councilman in National City and member of the board of MTS.

Photo Essay: A Night Under the Bridge 

TW, 68 years old from Maine sits in his tent at a homeless encampment on Commercial Street in downtown on March 30, 2023.
TW, 68 years old from Maine sits in his tent at a homeless encampment on Commercial Street in downtown on March 30, 2023. TW says he enjoys cooking and keeping his tent clean and organized. He came to San Diego last June from Arizona. TW stayed at Father Joe’s before staying at an encampment. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Voice photojournalist Ariana Drehsler recently spent an evening photographing unhoused people whose tents line downtown’s Commercial Street. 

People who live in a home often unwind, cook, watch TV, hangout with loved ones and prepare for the next day. Drehsler wanted to see what those who don’t have a home do. How do they pass the time in the evening? What do they do before going to sleep at night? 

Commercial Street is prone to encampments. It’s often photographed, but those private moments at night are rarely captured. 

On her visit last week, she witnessed the encampment come to life in the evening with solar lights and reggaeton music. She watched people make coffee and some catch up with friends. 

View the photo essay here. 

North County Report: Encinitas Is Out of Space 

Encinitas doesn’t have enough land available and suitable for residential development identified in its state-mandated housing plan to accommodate the rest of the low-income units the state said it needed to plan for. 

This means the city could then need to identify new sites that could be turned into low-income housing. 

In the latest North County Report, Tigist Layne explains how the city got here and what’s next. 

Read the North County Report here. 

Schools Guide: Ask us Anything 

Our team will be on Reddit answering all your questions related to our Parent’s Guide to San Diego Schools this Friday, April 7, from 12 to 2 p.m. 

You can ask us anything about how to find the right school for your kids, school performance data in the guide, after-school programs and more. Follow us on Reddit so you don’t miss our AMA

Download the 2023 Schools Guide here for free. 

In Other News 

  • California child welfare agencies are under fire for pocketing foster kids’ Social Security money. CalMatters reports that San Diego County took survivor benefits set aside for one local family after the father passed away. It’s legal but advocates are seeking to stop the practice through a court challenge and bill. 
  • Alliance San Diego is calling for a special election to fill outgoing Supervisor Nathan Fletcher’s seat and asking the county to allocate resources to booster voter participation. The board isn’t expected to make a final decision until May 2, about two weeks before Fletcher officially steps down. 
  • National City’s city council voted unanimously Tuesday night to repeal the city’s decades-old ban on cruising. (NBC 7)
  • In November 2021, a fire damaged playground equipment at Dennis V. Allen Park in Mount Hope, inewsource reported. Nearly a year and a half later, the city of San Diego announced on Twitter that it has replaced the equipment. 

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

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1 Comment

  1. ” Follow us on Reddit so you don’t miss our AMA.”
    please PLEASE stop using abbreviations and jargon without explanation. (yes, i know what Reddit is, it’s AMA that i don’t know 😉

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