SAN DIEGO — The Neil Good Day Center, which provides essential services to San Diego's homeless population, is reducing its hours and cutting services due to funding shortages.
The center provides a plethora of services for those living on San Diego's streets, sidewalks and in city parks. Those services include showers, restrooms, laundry facilities, phones, and charging stations, as well as places for people to store their belongings.
On Tuesday, a notice was placed at the center showing new hours of operation and service times. The center, according to the notice, will now be closed on weekends and will be open ten fewer hours than normal.
In addition, the center will no longer be storing items for those who need a place to stow their belongings during the day.
According to a statement from Father Joe's Villages, which runs the center, the reduction in services is "caused by increased program costs related to inflation and the general costs of running the program."
Jim Deacon, President and CEO of Father Joe's Villages said the cuts were unavoidable.
Added Vargas, "Father Joe’s Villages, the San Diego Housing Commission, and the City of San Diego made every effort to identify ways to maintain as much access to services and hours as possible given those challenges.
We are extremely proud of how we’ve helped neighbors through the Day Center. The Day Center will continue to provide important services like showers, restrooms, laundry, and mail delivery, which are basic human rights all people should have, regardless of their housing status. In addition, our team works to connect clients with resources including shelter, case management, and housing."
The reduction in hours and services comes as San Diego continues to see a record number of homeless people in East Village and in other parts of downtown.
According to the San Diego Downtown Partnership, which conducts monthly counts of homeless people downtown, there were 1,839 people living without shelter in downtown during December, more than a hundred higher than were counted during the previous month and more than 600 greater than the number of people counted in December 2021.
Homeless advocate Michael McConnell says considering the increase in the number of people without homes, he would expect to see the exact opposite from the city and the housing commission.
"It's sad to see the cut in hours and services at the Neil Good Day Center," said McConnell. "It is one of the few places people can go to get off the sidewalks during the day and access services. Unfortunately, it is just another example of the City not understanding that homelessness is a 24/7/365 crisis."
CBS 8 reached out to the city and the San Diego Housing Commission for comment. A city spokesperson deferred to the housing commission for comment.
The San Diego Housing Commission issued a statement to CBS 8 that read in part,
"Each weekday at the Day Center, Monday through Friday, access to on-site partners, restrooms, rest areas, and charging stations for items like cell phones and electronic scooters will be available from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Mail services will be available 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Adults experiencing homelessness will be able to do laundry at noon and 1 p.m. Showers will be available at Father Joe’s Villages’ main campus from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on weekdays and weekends. The Day Center will be closed on weekends.
Storage of personal belongings will not be available at the Day Center. However, there are alternative storage services available at three storage centers in the City:
- Storage Connect Center I at 116 S. 20th St. in Sherman Heights
- Storage Connect Center II at 5453 Lea St. in Chollas Creek
- Transitional Storage Center at 252 16th St. in Downtown San Diego
In addition, the Homelessness Response Center continues to help connect people experiencing homelessness with service providers and to coordinate activities on their path to longer-term or permanent housing.
The changes being implemented at the Day Center are the result of higher operating costs due to inflation and general costs of running the program, relative to the available funding. Father Joe’s Villages operates the Day Center through a contract with SDHC on behalf of the City of San Diego. The City made available $650,000 to fund Day Center operations in Fiscal Year 2023, and Father Joe’s Villages supplements these resources with additional philanthropic funds. Father Joe’s Villages, SDHC and the City made every effort to identify ways to maintain as much access to services and hours as possible given the available resources."