SAN DIEGO — The City of San Diego is expected to vote Tuesday on a major plan to turn two local hotels into housing for the homeless. With the San Diego City Council's approval, the city will convert two Residence Inn locations - one on Kearny Mesa Road and the one on Hotel Circle in Mission Valley - into fully furnished, move-in ready, apartment-style homes for about 400 homeless people.
The plan calls for many of them to move out of the San Diego Convention Center by December, where they’ve been temporarily housed during the pandemic. As of Monday, it was still housing about 1,000 people.
“If there's been any silver lining during this pandemic, it's there's fantastic work happening inside this building,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer Monday, referring to the convention center.
On Monday, Faulconer along with Council President Georgette Gómez, Councilmember Chris Ward and San Diego Housing Commission President and CEO Richard C. Gentry held a media conference to reiterate the need and benefits of a switch that they said would require minimal work to be move-in ready.
But how soon could San Diego get conventions back in the center?
Convention centers haven’t been given the green light from the state to fully reopen, but officials say plans are in place.
And while events are scheduled for as early as January of next year, officials don't plan on hosting until spring.
Even with state guidance, the city’s plan still leaves hundreds of homeless individuals in the convention center, waiting their turn to receive permanent housing.
“The next phase of [the] Operation Shelter to Home project is focused on permanent homes for hundreds more,” said Faulconer.
The proposed purchase of both hotels will be presented to the San Diego City Council for consideration Tuesday. The public is allowed to make comment via telephone and web form. The council will also be asked Tuesday to approve agreements between the housing commission and Father Joe's Villages and PATH San Diego. Those organizations would provide on-site support services.
The city said the transformation of the hotels would allow for 332 units to become housing for people experiencing homelessness.