About 900 homeless people sheltered at San Diego Convention Center to get permanent housing

California
Beds fill a homeless shelter inside the San Diego Convention Center on Aug. 11, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Beds fill a homeless shelter inside the San Diego Convention Center on Aug. 11, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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About 900 homeless people sheltered for months at the San Diego Convention Center are scheduled to move into permanent housing over the next two weeks, a city official said.

Housing Commission president Rick Gentry told the Union-Tribune that the temporary shelter at the convention center will close after San Diego finalized the purchase of two extended-stay hotels. About 400 people will begin moving into the hotels next week, with the rest following the week after, the newspaper said.

Gentry and other city officials said Tuesday that the convention center’s Shelter to Home program has been successful on many levels, including finding permanent housing for homeless people.

Unless additional funding is identified to keep the program operating, however, the plan is for others staying at the convention center but not moving into hotels to return in mid-December to other city-run shelters.

Bob McElroy, head of the homeless service provider Alpha Project, said he is making preparations for people to move back into two shelters operated by his nonprofit. The Alpha Project and Father Joe’s Villages oversee sections of the convention center shelter.

The convention center shelter opened in April following concerns that city-run shelters were too crowded and could be a breeding ground for the coronavirus.

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