OCEANSIDE — A budget increase for the city’s future homeless shelter has been conveniently countered by a grant from the county.
Known as the Oceanside Navigation Center, the city’s shelter will host up to 50 beds and provide many other services to houseless individuals in the former Ocean Shores High School building. In late 2021, the Oceanside City Council approved a three-year property use agreement with the San Diego Rescue Mission to operate the shelter.
The Navigation Center will provide stabilization and support services and pathways to more permanent housing for its clients. The program uses a trauma-informed care model designed to serve its clients through its low-barrier entry and operations and a 30-day maximum stays for clients with some flexibility depending on the case.
“It is far more than a shelter,” said Management Analyst Salvador Roman at the Dec. 7 council meeting.
When the shelter was first approved, costs for renovation, construction and furnishing were anticipated to be $4.07 million. They would be funded primarily by the city’s inclusionary housing in-lieu fees, collected by developers who opt to pay the fees over building affordable housing units.
Some funding would also come from permanent local housing allocation funds, which are state funds provided to local governments for housing-related projects and programs that address housing shortfalls.
The Navigation Center also received $2.25 million in federal funds secured by Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) following the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act earlier this year.
While renovations are currently underway and expected to be completed by spring, an additional $3.26 million in unanticipated costs have occurred due to the building’s old age, other required site improvements and cost increases in construction materials and supplies.
At nearly the same time, the County of San Diego approved its Capital Emergency Housing Solutions Grant Program, which will provide $10 million to incorporated cities to initiate new and permanent emergency solutions such as shelters and safe parking lots. Oceanside was allotted $3.258 million for its Navigation Center – almost the same price as the additional renovation costs.
With the additional county funds, the city now has nearly $9.6 million to complete the $7.8 million shelter project. The remaining $1.8 million will reimburse the city’s Inclusionary Housing funds.
At his last council meeting representing District 2, Councilmember Christopher Rodriguez applauded the city for its work on the Navigation Center.
“We’ve come a long way on our city front addressing the homeless crisis,” Rodriguez said. “Our partnership with the San Diego Rescue Mission will be huge for the city of Oceanside and the region.”
Rodriguez noted that the shelter has to exist for the city to take more steps to address homelessness.
“We want to get everybody off the street, and we have to make it uncomfortable to be homeless,” Rodriguez said. “We want you off the street; we want you to have a better life; we want you to follow our local laws.”