In October, San Diego launched the city’s first sanctioned homeless camp. Dozens of people arrived with a mixture of trepidation, anxiety and hope when it opened. The campsite is being run by a nonprofit called Alpha Project and people that stay at the site will be placed in tents and have access to portable showers and toilets. The site was opened in response to the growing hepatitis A outbreak that has been disproportionately affecting the homeless. Terrie Woolever, a 58 year old San Diego native, stated,
I think it’s great that I get a second chance in life. I thought of suicide a lot. When I came here today, I was surprised. I was happy. Everything changed.
The site also provides some relief for people living on the street and the neighborhoods that have seen a growing number of makeshift sidewalk shelters in recent years. The site is in a public works yard off 20th and B streets that is expected to hold about 200 people. An annual homeless count conducted in January found that there were 9,116 homeless people countywide and 5,619 in the city of San Diego. Around 3,231 homeless people in the city were unsheltered, with 1,276 on downtown streets. The city plans to open more large industrial tents, but hopefully some more permanent housing can be provided to help the homeless people.