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Old SD hotels to be made into housing for homeless

Concept art for new apartments to house the homeless.
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Homeless San Diegans may get shelter in the form of converted San Diego motels and new structures by the middle of next year.

Father Joe’s Villages announced on Thursday its plans to turn up to 2,000 units into affordable housing as a part of their Turning the Key: Unlocking a Brighter San Diego project.

In a news conference Deacon Jim Vargas, president and CEO of the charitable organization said that three-quarters of the $531 million plan has been identified.

Vargas stood before a special City Council meeting last week and spoke about the plan.

“With over 1,000 people sleeping on the streets of downtown on any given night, now is the time to forge bold solutions,” Vargas said.

“San Diego currently has the lowest rental vacancy rate in the country, and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is over $1,700,” he said. “Our homelessness crisis will not be resolved until we create more housing that people can afford.”

This plan involves making repairs and readying 1,240 motel rooms just outside downtown while other rooms would be located at Fifth and Ash Street, and Commercial Street between 14th and 17th.

Vargas is confident that this countywide idea could be the “foundation for change.”

Social services would also be a part of the plan, with assistance and resources provided to the tenants.

The conversions would begin as early as this year while ground would be broken on new buildings next year.

People are expected to be able to take up residence in these new projects by next summer.