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City-Sanctioned Homeless Camp Opens in Golden Hill

October 9, 2017

By Mario A. Cortez

City-Sanctioned Homeless Camp Opens in San Diego Operations Lot by Mario A Cortez

On Monday, Oct. 9, the City of San Diego officially opened up a homeless encampment on the City Operations Yard near Golden Hill Park, this in an effort to treat the current homelessness issue and the hepatitis A outbreak.

This year’s hepatitis A outbreak has been linked to the high number of homeless people in the downtown and East Village area, which are living in unhygienic conditions and in close quarters with each other.

“This is a safe place for people to be while they wait to be transitioned,” said Robert McElroy, president of local human-services organization Alpha Project. “A lot of people here are sick and tired of being sick and tired, so the camp is really a safe place for people to be at during the time it takes for the larger, more comprehensive structures to be built and the hepatitis (outbreak) to blow over.”

The 134-space campsite is being administered by Alpha Project staff members and is equipped with hygienic services such as portable restroom units, hand washing stations, and showers.

Other services include 24-hour security, medical services, flu and hepatitis A vaccines, case managers, personal services, storage, and shuttles in and out of the camp.

In the meantime, Alpha Project staffers will continue to provide for individuals who need it the most at this camp until the first of the three City-run homeless tent shelters opens on 16th and Newton street in Barrio Logan in the near future.

“We’re taking 200 people out of a homeless population out of over 2,000 which is a drop in a bucket”, McElroy declared. “Our outreach teams have targeted men, women, and kids who are most at risk and for the time being, we just want the people who need it most to be safe at this camp.”

On Sept. 1, the County Board of Supervisors declared a public health emergency due to the continued spread of the virus. This emergency declaration was given another two-week extension on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

As of this writing there are 490 recorded Hepatitis A-related cases and 18 deaths.

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