Last year, the San Diego Housing Commission solicited bids for the creation of a permanent brick and mortar shelter to replace the two winter shelter tents it’s been using for the past 30 some years.
The local paper, the Union – Tribune has endorsed the proposal submitted by the St. Vincent DePaul shelter. You can read that article at http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/mar/13/san-diego-homeless-winter-year-round-mayor/ .
As stated in that article, “The St. Vincent proposal will be considered by the Housing Commission later this week and by the council on March 24. The U-T Editorial Board strongly urges its approval.”
The problem I’m having is that it looks like St Vincent’s has already broken ground on new construction (see above picture) and it’s only the 15th of March.
So, I’m wondering, did St Vincent’s already win the contract for the new shelter behind closed doors, and for whatever reason has rushed to begin construction ahead of announcement, and has the city bypassed protocol and perhaps broken the law by skipping the city’s official review process?
Or, did St. Vincent’s already have this new building program underway – separate from it’s proposal to build a new homeless shelter for the city? If so, will St Vincent’s use the money granted for the city’s new homeless shelter to pay for this other building project?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I think the San Diego Housing Commission and St Vincent’s owes the city an explanation of what’s going on here. And should be more proactively transparent of it’s actions in the future.
As for granting St Vincent’s this new contract for building and running a new shelter system, I think it’s problematic. San Diego needs to encourage more people and organizations to be created and to get involved in the care and services of the homeless. There is already too much of a monopoly over the homeless industry in San Diego, and it does no good to have so many homeless people’s lives being affected by so few people.