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Work Begins To Offer More Room For Homeless To Shelter

Solutions Mayor Also Calls for Approval of Economic, Eviction Relief Measures Tomorrow

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – Expanding on recent efforts to provide relief to San Diegans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer today shared updates on two of his recent announcements to protect homeless individuals from the spread of the COVID-19 virus and alleviate economic burdens placed on residents and businesses.

Mayor Faulconer was joined by City Councilmember Chris Ward, CEO of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless Tamera Kohler and President and CEO of Father Joe's Village Deacon Jim Vargas today.

 “San Diegans from all walks of life right now are struggling as we cope with the impacts of COVID-19. We’re only going to get through this pandemic by taking care of one another and working together,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “San Diegans are wondering how they’ll pay rent and small businesses are trying to stay afloat while some of our most vulnerable living on the streets seek protection from this virus. We’re turning plans into action to get all San Diegans the relief they need.”

Homelessness Efforts:

Yesterday, Mayor Faulconer was joined by regional leaders to announce a system-wide coordinated approach to help homeless individuals and that the lower level of Golden Hall and parts of the Convention Center would be opened up to individuals currently in our shelters.

Today, 55 families moved from the City’s Bridge Shelter on the upper level of Golden Hall operated by Father Joe’s Villages to two motels using some of the 200 rooms that were secured by the County for the Regional Task Force on the Homeless for homeless individuals. Additional updates will be provided as they’re made available.

"The actions we are taking this week will ensure individuals and families can keep themselves safe, and bring hundreds of unsheltered San Diegans into the safety of our shelter system," said Councilmember Ward. "Our City remains committed to deliberate, thoughtful collaboration with regional partners to ensure the safety and well-being of all San Diegans during this pandemic, and after."

 “We have an unprecedented multi-agency collaboration that is working very quickly to rebuild our system to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our homeless population while at the same time continuing to provide top-notch service to residents,” Kohler said. “We are thinking creatively to stand up new shelters, expand our capacity and maximize our staffing resources to serve the needs of both our sheltered and unsheltered populations.”

"Father Joe's Villages commends the rapid actions of the County, City, the Convention Center, San Diego Housing Commission and Region Task Force on the Homeless to put together a plan that prioritizes the health and safety of the people we serve," Vargas said. "By relocating families from our bridge shelter to individual motel rooms, single women to the ground floor of Golden Hall and introducing a new shelter resource through the Convention Center, Father Joe's Villages is working together to take crucial actions that will protect those experiencing homelessness and our most vulnerable neighbors in the community."

Economic Relief Efforts:

Anticipated to go before a City Council vote tomorrow, the economic relief package unveiled by Mayor Faulconer last week has now grown to approximately 6 million dollars and reduces fees, provides certainty and offers support to local employers.

Mayor Faulconer is also backing with Council President Georgette Gómez an eviction moratorium for residential and commercial tenants in the City of San Diego. The eviction relief ordinance will strike a balance between the interests of tenants, landlords and lenders. The City will continue to explore and bring forward additional relief measures as necessary.

Programs in the economic relief package include:

  • Creation of the San Diego Small Business Relief Fund: This fund will help make microloans available to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of San Diego has infused the fund with 6 million dollars and will look for partners to increase the fund during this time of need.
  • Tax Certificate Deferral Program: This program will help ensure business owners are not penalized for late renewal submissions for up to 120 days. This program will also include a one-year forgiveness period for Business Tax Certificate penalties and surcharges when reestablishing delinquent accounts.
  • Commercial Utility Deferral: This program immediately helps business owners by suspending water billing fees, removing penalties for late payments, and ensuring there are no commercial account shut-offs. This mirrors previous relief provided to families in San Diego struggling to make payments to keep current during uncertain times.
  • Extension of All Building Permits: The proposed extension will last for 180 days and can be stretched further upon review. Usually, discretionary items would be automatically closed after 90 days of inactivity. This change allows them to be open longer and the City will be working with customers on a case by case basis.

More information on the order, including what’s closed, what’s open and which industries are exempted by the state can be found on the California Covid-19 response website.

For information regarding COVID-19 cases and directives from the County of San Diego public health officials, please visit www.coronavirus-sd.com.

For the latest  City updates and steps the public can take to help reduce the spread of the disease, please visit sandiego.gov/coronavirus.

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