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Mayor Gloria Provides Update on Future of Old Central Library Shelter


July 13, 2023


SAN DIEGO – Mayor Todd Gloria today issued the following statement regarding the future of the homeless shelter at the Old Central Library in Downtown:

“We opened the temporary shelter at the Old Central Library this past January to get vulnerable women safely off the street and put on a path to housing. With our 180-day permit expiring, we will be closing the shelter on July 23 with plans to reopen it in six months with a new 180-day permit. When we opened the shelter, I indicated that our long-term plan for the property was to transform it into shelter and affordable housing, and that’s precisely what we intend to do. I will be bringing a proposal to the City Council this fall.

“I want to thank the National Alliance on Mental Illness San Diego, the operator of the shelter, for their partnership in our efforts to address homelessness in Downtown. NAMI will continue to help us connect people living in Downtown encampments to permanent housing.”

Through April 30, 2023, the shelter served 105 women, 77 of whom were chronically homeless. Of these clients, 49 were at least 55 years old, 45 were women of color and 40 were survivors of domestic violence. Twenty-two women exited the shelter to temporary or permanent destinations. Data from May through July will be available in the coming weeks.

The temporary permit the City secured for use of the library as overnight shelter is limited to 180 days within a 12-month period. To continue the use of the structure for overnight shelter would require a change of use.

Currently, the City’s Safe Sleeping site at 20th and B operates under a 180-day permit, but the City’s Fire Marshal has more discretion to issue a new 180-day permit given the program is outdoors and not in a physical structure.