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Hilary storm preparations for San Diego’s homeless population

Mayor Todd Gloria addressed efforts being made to offer shelter to those in need as Hilary approaches.

SAN DIEGO — As we brace for severe weather headed our way, San Diego’s unsheltered population is the most vulnerable to heavy winds and rain brought by Hilary.

“I’ve seen it happen very, very quickly where the water can overtake an area. People, especially in the river bed and other waterway areas, are in a very dangerous situation because the water can rise very, very quickly,” said Michael McConnell, a long-time advocate for homeless solutions.

“I’m just coming from the riverbed, talking to people, telling them, ‘Hey, you know, get to a better place, it’s going to be really dangerous near water.” It’s going to be dangerous in a lot of places though," he said.

In a press conference Friday, Mayor Todd Gloria addressed efforts being made to offer shelter to those in need.

“The City’s outreach teams, in partnership with the San Diego Riverpark Foundation, park rangers, and Cal Trans, are working the areas along the San Diego River where there may be flooding, to warn individuals that reside there, of the risk and encourage them to accept shelter beds currently in our homeless shelter system,” said Gloria.

157 people currently residing at the 20th and B Safe Sleeping site will be temporarily relocated to Golden Hall for safer shelter, and the City will have transportation on-call should any shelter evacuations be needed.

“Weather’s just one more thing that wreaks havoc on the lives of people who are unsheltered, whether it’s the extreme heat that we’ve been having, whether it’s this potential tropical storm bringing all this rain and wind,” said McConnell. “It damages people’s property, it can hurt their health, put them in dangerous situations if they’re in flood zones, you name it, it’s just dangerous for people out here on the street.”

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