FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 4, 2022
San Diego – An effort by Mayor Todd Gloria to increase shelter capacity for San Diegans experiencing homelessness advanced today as the San Diego Housing Commission’s Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve an agreement with Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego to create a new shelter for homeless women in Downtown.
The new Rachel’s Promise shelter will offer up to 40 new beds for women experiencing homelessness, with an emphasis on those with serious medical conditions or women released from the hospital who do not need, or qualify for, recuperative care but are nonetheless in need of a safe place to recover. The shelter will also offer housing navigation assistance, meals, laundry facilities, showers, mail and telephone services and clothing.
“I am laser-focused on expanding our shelter capacity to get more people experiencing homelessness off the streets and connected to services. Rachel’s Promise is our latest effort to do that and will house 40 women who are currently unsheltered,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “I want to thank Catholic Charities for their partnership and for bringing forward such a creative proposal to serve San Diegans in need.”
The new shelter will be located at the Salvation Army facility Downtown. If approved by the San Diego Housing Authority, which is made up of members of the City Council, the program would be greenlighted for an initial operating term from April 13, 2022, through June 30, 2022, with three one-year options for renewal. The contract’s initial term is anticipated to cost $339,700 through the end of Fiscal Year 2022, funded by American Rescue Plan Act dollars Mayor Gloria allocated for homeless shelters and crisis response. The following fiscal year is expected to cost approximately $1.12 million.
For nearly four decades, Catholic Charities has steadily increased its services to assist those experiencing homelessness. In addition to the new women’s shelter, the organization also operates the existing Rachel Women’s Center and Night Shelter across the street from the proposed location Downtown, as well as programs such as the 100-bed La Posada shelter in Carlsbad, the 50-bed Our Lady of Guadalupe shelter in Calexico, the 24-bed House of Hope shelter in El Centro and soon a Homeless Day Center in El Centro to serve 250 individuals daily.
“Catholic Charities’ Rachel’s Promise will not only add new shelter beds for women within the City of San Diego but will also amplify our existing services for unhoused women,” said Appaswamy “Vino” Pajanor, CEO of Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego. “Just like Rachel’s Women’s Center and Night Shelter in Downtown San Diego, Rachel’s Promise will become many things to many participants: a night shelter, a day respite, bathroom, shower, laundromat, meal service, clothing provider and mailing address. Rachel’s Promise will also be one thing to every participant: a place to be heard, helped and empowered.”
Today’s Housing Commission action is a result of a Request for Qualifications that the commission issued in July 2021 seeking providers to expand shelter opportunities within the City of San Diego, particularly for special populations such as those with substance-use disorders, veterans, single women and those in need of respite care or higher levels of care.
“Addressing homelessness requires a variety of housing solutions — from more shelter beds to additional longer-term housing,” said Housing Commission President and CEO Richard C. Gentry. “This new shelter will provide an essential resource operated by Catholic Charities, an experienced and respected service provider, to help single women experiencing homelessness. I thank the Mayor and City Council for their leadership and support of homelessness solutions like this shelter.”
The proposal aligns with the City’s Community Action Plan on Homelessness, which aims to create a more comprehensive system to reduce homelessness over 10 years. The plan calls out the need to add more than 500 crisis-response options like new shelter beds, transitional housing facilities or diversion programs.
Mayor Gloria has expanded shelter capacity by more than 21% since April last year, including a shelter dedicated to serving those with the most acute behavioral health and substance abuse needs. In his January State of the City address, Mayor Gloria reaffirmed his commitment to expanding shelter capacity even further in the coming year.
The Housing Commission’s Board of Commissioners’ action will become final in seven days unless at least two members of the San Diego City Council, in their capacity as the Housing Authority, ask to review the action.