Cold sparks call for blankets for homeless shelter


City News Service

With nighttime temperatures dipping into the 40s, the city of San Diego’s winter shelter for homeless adults is in need of blankets, the head of the organization that runs the facility said Monday.

The chilly weather is expected to continue through the week, according to the National Weather Service.

The shelter, in a large tent at 16th and Newton avenues in Barrio Logan, accommodates 220 people and staff, and has to turn away 50 to 60 others nightly, said Bob McElroy, CEO of the Alpha Project.

Those who don’t make it into the shelter are given blankets or plastic sheeting, which works as an insulator, McElroy said. He also said staff exchanges dry blankets for wet ones.

“We’re really lacking in blankets,” McElroy said.

The blankets and plastic are also given out at the Neil Good Day Center on 17th Street, and volunteers roam the streets looking for people in need of warmth.

“We’re just trying to keep people alive,” McElroy said.

He said women are not turned away from the shelter. Because of the recent cold snap, the female population there has climbed from an average of about 50 per night to 65, he said.

The tent is usually much warmer than the outside air, he said.

The NWS forecast calls for low temperatures in the low 40s through Saturday morning in downtown San Diego, where nighttime conditions are usually warmer than the rest of the county. Lows through the week will be in the 30s in the inland valleys the rest of the week, according to the NWS.