SAN DIEGO — A philanthropic San Diego organization working to help the county’s homeless announced an online petition campaign Monday urging local officials to use vacant government-owned buildings to address the local homeless crisis. The Lucky Duck Foundation said the petition drive was the result of a recent poll it commissioned with Competitive Edge Research to gather public opinion on San Diego’s homeless issues and how to best provide homeless individuals with shelter and services.
The Lucky Duck Foundation’s poll found that 86% of registered voters polled believe the City of San Diego should “play a major role in addressing homelessness in San Diego.” The poll found that 82% of registered voters who responded believe the County of San Diego should also play a major role handling the issue.
The petition seeks to urge elected San Diego officials to use vacant government-owned buildings to shelter the homeless and provide them with critical services.
“The City of San Diego’s Homeless Action Plan pledges to reduce homelessness by 50%, however, with thousands of people still unsheltered on the streets and a plethora of government-owned buildings sitting vacant and completely unused, opening and activating these buildings is a must,” said Lucky Duck Foundation board member Dan Shea. “There is an urgent need with a solution available, but only if our local elected officials take action. If action is not taken, we formally request the City and County schedule public hearings to discuss this issue.”
One of the buildings being targeted by the foundation is the former Chargers practice facility on Murphy Canyon Road in Kearny Mesa. Shea said the building and its fields, formerly known as Chargers Park, could be utilized for a portion of San Diego’s homeless known as transition-aged youth (TAY). Shea said there is an estimated 15,000 TAY who are homeless in San Diego.
He said with industrial-sized tents placed on the fields of the former football practice facility, the entire TAY population of San Diego could be sheltered there with the buildings used for food and medical services. Shea emphasized that any such project would need to be a collaborative effort between philanthropic organizations such as the Lucky Duck Foundation and Feeding San Diego along with local governments.
Other results of the foundation’s poll included:
- 55% of those polled believe homelessness is the most important San Diego issue and consider it “extremely important”
- 84% believe city-owned vacant buildings should be utilized as inclement weather shelters
- 53% said that the city should provide temporary shelter
The foundation reported that its poll was conducted in November 2019 in the City of San Diego and had a sample size of 504 registered voters.