62-Year-Old San Diego Man’s Quest for Shelter: Beds in Short Supply

SAN DIEGO — Last week, CBS 8 introduced you to a 62-year-old individual from San Diego, whom we’ll refer to as Scott to protect his privacy. For the first time in his life, Scott found himself facing homelessness. He shared his frustrating experiences with us, describing his efforts to navigate the City of San Diego’s shelter system, which repeatedly left him without a place to stay.

Scott’s daily routine involved queuing up at the City of San Diego’s Homelessness Response Center as early as 4:30 a.m., hoping to secure a shelter bed. However, for five consecutive days, he was turned away, and the environment in the vicinity filled him with apprehension.

He recounted, “Each morning, there was nothing. No beds. No beds.” What made matters worse was the unsettling scene near the shelter, where he observed various individuals engaged in drug-related activities and violence. “All the different people on the corner, they’re all selling drugs and doing drugs and just violent,” he lamented. “It’s really bizarre down there.”

Scott had diligently followed the prescribed procedure but couldn’t fathom why he consistently received the same response – no available beds. This left him perplexed, particularly in light of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s recent statement during a press conference that asserted, “There’s always beds available.”

Upon reaching out to the city for clarification, they issued a statement that reiterated the mayor’s stance: “The Mayor’s statement speaks for itself: There are always shelter beds available, in addition to space at 20th and B.”

However, Scott maintains that he was never offered a spot at 20th and B, and he expressed deep disappointment with the system, labeling it as deplorable. “Watching on television is one thing, but living it is a whole different thing,” he shared. “Yes, my eyes have been completely opened to see what’s going on, and it’s not good. It’s not good at all.”

Taking action, CBS 8 reached out to contacts within organizations advocating for people experiencing homelessness, and on Tuesday, Scott finally secured a place to stay. His first night in his new accommodation at the San Diego Rescue Mission brought relief. Scott, however, didn’t secure a spot in a city-run shelter; he’s now part of the San Diego Rescue Mission’s one-year program.

“To me, it’s a nice program. So there’s a lot of devotionals and things like that, but that doesn’t bother me,” Scott remarked optimistically. With hopes of turning his life around, he aspires to regain the stability of long-term housing. “Just going from the unknown, not knowing what’s going to happen to me next, to now knowing, it’s a big burden off my shoulders,” he concluded.

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