SAN DIEGO — Child care has become an enormous issue since the pandemic started and now the Downtown San Diego Library is one of the many buildings in the area the city may potentially turn into a child care center.
"It’s a big enough problem where we call it a crisis," said Director of Policy and Strategy for nonprofit, San Diego For Every Child, Erin Hogeboom.
The child care crisis has so many parents scrambling.
"It's a 90% deficit. Only 10% of families were able to find affordable child care and when pandemic hit that exacerbated it," said Hogeboom.
To help combat the problem, the city’s Economic Development Intergovernmental Relations Committee (EDIRC) examined 72 city owned and operated buildings to be potential child care facilities. This includes 12 office buildings, 18 libraries and 42 parks and recreation centers.
"It’s a great step in the right direction, but we are not quite there yet," said Hogeboom.
As a mother to a 5-month-old, Hogeboom can relate as can San Diego YMCA’s Vice President of Social Services, Kim McDougal who is a mother to twins.
"It was a challenge. The average cost of childcare is $14,000 per year in California," says McDougal.
"People can't go to work. They can't be a part of the economy if they can't have quality child care. The pandemic has made that more difficult especially now that omicron is so prevalent," said Hogeboom.
McDougal said since the pandemic began, more than 500 San Diego childcare facilities had to close and many never re-opened.
"It's a real crisis and it's gotten worse since the pandemic," said McDougal.
She said the call to action now is for the city to invest in these facilities and refurbish these potential buildings so they can be child care ready. The committee plans to meet in the spring which could be a very lengthy process.
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