Opening of homeless camp back on track

The opening of San Diego’s first city-sanctioned homeless camp site is back on track for a Monday opening.

Bob McElroy, president and CEO of the Alpha Project, had said earlier Friday that the opening would be delayed a day because tents that had been purchased might not arrive in time.

After an online San Diego Union-Tribune story appeared announcing the delay, McElroy said he heard from the mayor’s office that the site still should open Monday by using rented tents.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Wednesday announced plans to open the site at a city public works yard near Balboa Park. Since then, McElroy said he and other organizers have been working to get everything in place in time for the opening, which originally was scheduled for Monday.

McElroy said wash stations, restrooms and other amenities at the site will be in place soon, and rented tents will be in place by the time people start arriving at 7:30 a.m. Monday.

As of Friday, details about transporting people to the site still were being worked out, but McElroy said the plan is to give priority to seniors, the disabled and families with children. He also said the Alpha Project will coordinate with the San Diego Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team, the county’s Psychiatric Emergency Response Team and other providers to pick up clients from Rachel’s Women’s Center, the Neil Good Day Center and other locations to shuttle them to the site.

The campsite will be at a city public works yard at 20th and B streets, where 136 camp site spaces will be set up to serve more than 200 people.

The site is expected to be temporary and in place only until a large industrial tent that holds at least 250 people is set up at Newton Avenue and 16th Street. That temporary shelter will be run by the Alpha Project and is one of three such facilities the city plans to erect by the end of the year.

McElroy said he expects the Newton Avenue and 16th Street shelter will be in operation by Thanksgiving.

gary.warth@sduniontribune.com

Twitter: @GaryWarthUT

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