Preparations are underway for turning Golden Hall into a temporary homeless shelter for 150 women and children.
A group of San Diego philanthropists and business leaders said the decision was a step in the right direction.
At a news conference, the Lucky Duck Foundation and its charity arm, the Tuesday Group, applauded Mayor Kevin Faulconer for opening up Golden Hall as a short term shelter. It was the Lucky Duck Foundation that came up with the idea for the bridge tents in downtown San Diego three years ago and paid for two of the tents.
The women and children currently living at the tent run by Father Joe’s Villages will have to move at the end of April, as the non-profit makes way for the construction of a new 14 story affordable housing project, which will be a permanent home for 550 people. A new tent will go up a few blocks away about 6 to 8 weeks later, but in the meantime, the women and children sheltered in the tent will be moved into the second floor of Golden Hall for about 3 months.
While the use of the city owned building adjacent to the City Hall administration building is only temporary, members of the Lucky Duck Foundation said it could be a bellweather and a sign that the City is ready to make stronger commitments in the future.
Dan Shea, a Foundation board member, said there are other city owned properties that could also be used for shelter, including the old Central Library in the Gaslamp Quarter. Shea said the City came up with one reason after another to reject the idea of turning the abandoned library into a shelter. “The point is, they find reasons – none of them is really credible. What I see from this announcement about Golden Hall is it’s time to open up the transparency of all this. They never provide information that demonstrates how it is. We’ve heard no credible reasons,” Shea said.
Last year, each of the nine City Council members said they would add 140 low income housing units in their district.
The business and civic leaders who have poured millions of dollars into the tents and other projects to ease homelessness said they will wait for city leaders to make good on that promise.
Peter Seidler, the general partner of the San Diego Padres and a member of the Lucky Duck Foundation said, “There’s no teeth to it, unless the private citizens put the teeth to it.”