Keep the San Diego Convention Center Homeless Shelter

This petition made change with 128,774 supporters!

It is unconscionable to close Operation Shelter to Home at the Convention Center during a global pandemic and an economic crisis in the winter. We demand that the shelter at the SDCC remain open until the decision to close is made in the best interest of ALL San Diegans. 

In April (2020), the city of San Diego took a historic step in addressing its long-standing homelessness crisis. Named Operation Shelter to Home, the city of San Diego converted two of the city’s major events centers, the San Diego Convention Center (SDCC) and the Golden Hall, into shelters for our neighbors experiencing homelessness. There are now plans in place to close down the shelter (currently covering 1200+ individuals) at the SDCC on December 31st, 2020. We, the Mustard Seed Project, along with our fellow community members and concerned San Diegans, believe that this decision was not made in the best interest of our community. This shelter at the SDCC has proven to be extraordinarily successful in the ways it has supported our city and the people who make it America’s Finest City. 

The initial reason SDCC was explicitly chosen to be used as a shelter is due to its large occupant capacity and physical space for social distancing. Most other shelters in San Diego are currently operating at half capacity, with hardly enough space to social distance (Shelter beds at Newton Ave. are only 3 feet apart). Our community was able to come together and collaborate with one another to provide the safest streamlined services to support our unsheltered community. With help from Father Joe’s Village, The Alpha Project, and Veteran’s Village of San Diego, the SDCC was able to provide not only basic needs like food, showers, bathrooms, laundry services, and sanitary living spaces but able to go above and beyond in its mental and behavioral health services as well as daily health screenings. Furthermore, the coordination of numerous homeless services in a single location has also proved to be immensely successful. Since its inception in April, we have seen a collaborative effort to centralize services like SSI, State ID, and many others. This consolidation of resources has more than proven its effectiveness, resulting in over 700 housing vouchers, 332 permanent supportive housing units created, and numerous other successes.

In light of the pandemic, widespread economic crisis, the winter season, and the need for continued progress, we make the following demands:

  1. Keep the Operation Shelter to Home shelter open at the San Diego Convention Center until San Diego is able to reach the Yellow Tier for a minimum of 5 weeks. It is unconscionable to close Operation Shelter to Home at the Convention Center while the fatal threat of COVID-19 is only increasing.
  2. Increase funding for social workers, permanent supportive housing, and expanding access to sanitation. In order to best support our community, our supportive services, local grassroots organizations, and resource providers need access to adequate funding so that they can best support our city. 

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