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Work begins on ‘a place of healing’ for homeless in Midway



Construction has begun on what will be the city of San Diego’s first homeless shelter to provide 24-hour intakes and a focus on people with mental illness and addictions.

At a Tuesday morning groundbreaking ceremony in the Midway District, city and county officials stressed that the shelter will not solve homelessness, but will be one of many new approaches to the problem when it opens sometime in July.

The shelter also could provide some relief to an area that has seen a growing number of homeless encampments in the area, including many on a stretch of Sports Arena Boulevard south of Rosecrans Street just two blocks away.

County supervisors last week approved a $10 million grant program for other cities to open shelters, safe parking lots, secure campgrounds or other options for getting people off the street. Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said at the Tuesday ceremony that he hoped cities throughout the county will replicate the new Midway shelter.

The shelter is being constructed behind the County Health and Human Services Complex and the Psychiatric Hospital of San Diego County on Rosecrans Street. The Alpha Project, which operates the harm-reduction shelter and two large tented shelters downtown, will oversee the new shelter while the county will provide staffing for psychiatric and health services.

The tent is owned by the philanthropic Lucky Duck Foundation, which has funded several local programs to shelter, feed and protect local homeless people and has pushed the city to open more shelters.

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