In response to the ongoing homelessness crisis, San Diego has unveiled its second safe sleeping site - the O Lot. Situated on the outskirts of Balboa Park, the O Lot features 400 two-person tents for the unsheltered population, aiming to provide temporary shelter and aid in the transition to permanent housing, per the City of San Diego.
San Diego's newest Safe Sleeping Program site is now open. O Lot is located at the edge of Balboa Park and will provide a safe, legal camping option for unsheltered people. pic.twitter.com/XM5aPdE97d— City of San Diego (@CityofSanDiego) October 20, 2023
This initiative represents a component of the city's broader strategy to quickly curb homelessness and follows the inauguration of the first safe sleeping site at 20th and B Streets in Golden Hill in June. As of today, this site hosts 148 people in 122 tents, with facilities to accommodate approximately 130 tents. Complementary on-site amenities and services strive to support residents to obtain permanent housing.
In respect of site amenities, tours reported by FOX 5 revealed wooden flooring, installed in O Lot tents to enhance the living comfort of residents. Halverstadt highlighted other amenities such as restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, and meal provisions on Twitter. These facilities are complemented by resource referrals, case management, and basic needs assistance. Mayor Todd Gloria confirmed all these amenities and services were available for residents.
However, to gain access to these safe sleeping sites is a process involving referrals from outreach workers, nonprofit organizations, or first responders, such as the San Diego Police Department. Clients must be over 18 years old, and commit to site rules by signing an agreement. Reportedly, pets, partners, and personal possessions are permissible at these sites, according to Halverstadt's tweets.