During its Nov. 4 meeting, Council declared a temporary shelter crisis stretching from Nov. 1 of this year to Apr. 15, 2021. This means churches that want to shelter the homeless this winter won’t have to obtain a conditional use permit through the city to do so.
Council has been annually adopting resolutions declaring a shelter crisis to allow churches to provide shelter for up to 50 persons during the winter months.
Council and city staff members are hopeful that this reduction of requirements will streamline the process and encourage a church to take homeless individuals in during the colder, wetter months of winter.
This winter would be the second year in a row that the city doesn’t have a winter shelter in place for its homeless population if a church doesn’t step forward.
Traditionally, Bread of Life operated a winter shelter but the organization wasn’t able to do so last year and once again cannot this year.
Council also adopted a modification to the resolution from Councilmember Christopher Rodriguez, who suggested sending out letters to churches in the city to let them know about this change with the hopes of encouraging them to shelter individuals.
At the same time, Council approved an agreement with Interfaith Community Services that would give $76,750 to the organization for its service as a fiscal agent for the Alliance for Regional Solutions for the 2020 to 2021 Bridge Housing Shelter Network.
The Alliance for Regional Solutions is a group of nonprofits like Interfaith working together to provide homeless individuals and families in North County shelter in the winter along with tools to help them move toward self-sufficiency.
The Bridge to Housing Shelter Network shelters homeless individuals at three year-round shelters and provides rotational winter shelters serving North County, with sites located in Carlsbad, Escondido, Vista and Oceanside. The Network’s total budget is $2.1 million with funding from FEMA, United Way of San Diego and approximately $531,074 from North County cities, which includes Oceanside’s share of $76,750.
Relating to this cost, Councilmember Esther Sanchez requested staff to look into the cost of housing an individual in one bed per night.
“This represents per bed something like $5 to 7 per night, which has been like that for what feels like centuries,” Sanchez said. “In other words, it doesn’t even begin to pay the cost for offering shelters for one person $5 to 7 per bed.”
Sanchez wants to review this cost, noting that groups like Interfaith Community Services and other organizations have previously asked the city to do so.
“It’s not only not reasonable, it’s not possible to provide a bed for someone at that low price,” Sanchez said.