General view of downtown San Diego: the host city for the 1992 America’s Cup class world championships shot on February 20, 1992. (Photo by Ken Levine /Getty Images)
OAN’s Noah Herring
1:24 PM – Wednesday, May 24, 2023
The County Board of Supervisors have agreed to authorize up to $32 million in loans towards a plan to house more than 300 homeless people in the city of San Diego.
The San Diego Housing Commission made plans to purchase and utilize two Extended Stay America Suites, the Ramada Inn, and an apartment building in Ocean Beach to house the homeless. Part of the plan reportedly includes closing escrow on the three hotels in October for the nearly $160 million price tag.
The city’s Housing Commision has agreed to use the state’s Project Homekey funds to purchase the properties.
The majority of the board voted with the view that the purchase was worth pursuing. Supervisor Jim Desmond was the only opposing vote with the view that there should be treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues before issuing housing.
Desmond also issued a statement claiming that the cost of the properties are too high.
“Today’s legislation fails to address the root causes of homelessness and lacks the necessary accountability for taxpayer funds,” he said. “Spending over $153 million taxpayer dollars at $478,000 per unit is not the solution.”
As San Diego County has seen record high homelessness in 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) ventured into several different housing strategies including building 1,200 tiny homes for the homeless.
In this strategy, which Newsom announced in March, California will spend close to $30 million to build the tiny homes across the state, including 150 in San Diego.
Newsom, since 2019, had signed off on over $22 billion in new spending on housing and homelessness programs as critics have pointed out that the policies have done little to fix the problem.
“This is just another Band-Aid on a crisis that is out of control in California,” said Brian Jones (R-Calif.). “We know that throwing money at this problem doesn’t work.”
Coronado Mayor, Richard Bailey, was also in opposition to the purchases of the properties, calling it “misguided” and “fail[ing] to address the core issues perpetuating this crisis.”
“California politicians continue to repeat the decade-long failures of housing first. At the same time, more and more people tragically end up on the streets, ” he said. “San Diegans should reject ineffective approaches and demand solutions that tackle the underlying causes of homelessness in our community.”
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