SAN DIEGO—A site in downtown San Diego's East Village that was proposed as the location for a temporary winter homeless shelter was rejected Tuesday by the City Council.
A motion to locate the tent shelter at a site bounded by F and G streets and 13th and 14th streets failed on a 4-4 vote, with Councilmen Kevin Faulconer, Ben Hueso, Tony Young and Carl DeMaio casting the dissenting votes.
The vote leaves the future of the annual winter shelter uncertain.
The 200-bed structure is scheduled to serve the homeless for 120 days from November through March.
Rick Gentry, president of the San Diego Housing Commission, which handles homeless issues for the city, testified that a thorough review of alternative sites was conducted and the location in the East Village was "pretty close'' to the only viable option for the shelter.
The location of the winter homeless shelter, which has been set up in the East Village for the past three years, has sparked an annual outcry from residents who want it elsewhere.
"Frankly, having a temporary tent has been devastating, devastating to the East Village community,'' Bill Sauls, with the East Village Association, told the City Council.
Councilman Kevin Faulconer, who represents downtown, has pushed to have the tent placed outside of downtown, arguing that it cannot go in the East Village "over and over.''
"The shelter and the services that go with it can be placed anywhere,'' Faulconer said.
Councilman Todd Gloria said it makes sense to locate the shelter in the East Village where the homeless services are already located.
"We can continue to look for something that doesn't exist, or we can take this on the table today that we know is so necessary and needed,'' Gloria told his colleagues.
Councilwoman Marti Emerald said the homeless and associated services were in the East Village before the condominiums.
"Folks, come on, you were stepping over the homeless when you moved in,'' she said.
The site at 13th and F streets that was proposed by the Housing Commission is owned by the Centre City Development Corp., downtown's redevelopment arm, and is slated to become a park next year.
Steve Altman, president of the nearby New School of Architecture and Design, said the location would pose a safety risk for students attending the school.
"Our students work late at night,'' he said. "They are at risk because of this.''
San Diego is working on establishing a permanent homeless shelter that is supposed to replace the winter tent structure. However, city staffers have estimated that it will take at least two years before the facility is operating.