San Diego's Old Central Library Women's Shelter Shutting Down as Permit Expires

San Diego’s Old Central Library Women’s Shelter Shutting Down as Permit Expires

SAN DIEGO — The city of San Diego made an announcement today, July 13, stating that the permit for the women’s homeless shelter located inside the Old Central Library has expired, and as a result, the site will be closing down.

The temporary shelter, which had a capacity of 36 beds, was opened by the city in January of this year.

Since its opening, numerous residents residing in the shelter have complained about the lack of electricity, with the facility relying on a large generator for power. Additionally, the shelter has been plagued by rats and other pests.

In a report by CBS 8 on June 14, one woman stated, “We can’t have any food, we can only have water, because I guess they have rats. Like these are huge rats.”

Another woman named Candace mentioned that many people couldn’t tolerate the presence of rats, causing them to leave the shelter and stay outside on the curb.

Public records obtained by CBS 8 indicate that the Old Central Library, located at 820 E Street, fell into disrepair after its closure in 2013.

Vandals had dismantled the electrical panels, resulting in the lack of electricity in the building and necessitating the use of a generator to power the women’s shelter.

Mayor Todd Gloria, while announcing the closure, expressed plans to convert the shelter into affordable housing. However, before that can happen, the city will need to obtain a new 180-day permit in the coming year.

The statement clarifies that the shelter cannot operate for more than 180 days within a 12-month period without a change in the current land use designation.

Mayor Gloria stated, “With our 180-day permit expiring, we will be closing the shelter on July 23 and intend to reopen it in six months with a new 180-day permit.

When we opened the shelter, I mentioned our long-term plan to transform the property into shelter and affordable housing, and that’s exactly what we intend to do. I will present a proposal to the City Council this fall.”

According to city-provided data, since its opening, the shelter has accommodated 105 women, nearly half of whom were survivors of domestic violence.

A spokesperson from Mayor Gloria’s office informed CBS 8 that all current clients will be assisted in transitioning to a permanent home or another shelter.

Furthermore, the city may utilize the Old Central Library for outreach efforts, and security measures will be maintained on-site to prevent vandalism (which initially caused the electrical problems) or any other issues during the period when the building remains unoccupied. Necessary repairs will be made in the next six months as required.

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