A city proposal to buy two hotels to house up to 400 homeless people cleared a hurdle Wednesday with unanimous approval from the San Diego Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee.

Not everybody is on board with the idea, however. Public comments during the meeting, held remotely with people calling in, found a few Mission Valley residents had concerns about the city’s plan to convert a Marriot Residence Inn near their condominiums.

Rick Gentry, president and CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission, said one meeting already has been held with residents of a Mission Valley condominium complex, and a “Good Neighbor Committee” composed of area stakeholders will be formed to continue a relationship with them.

Using $37.7 million from the state’s Project Homekey fund to house homeless people during the pandemic, the city plans to buy a Marriott Residence Inn at 1865 Hotel Circle South and another Residence Inn at 5400 Kearny Mesa Road. The Hotel Circle hotel will have 190 affordable housing units and cost $67 million and the Kearny Mesa hotel will have 142 affordable housing units and cost $39.5 million.

Additional funding will come from loans, developer fees, city money and federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding.

The units are expected to be open by the end of the year and will be new permanent homes for about 400 people who are staying at a shelter in the San Diego Convention Center. People not moving into the hotels will instead go to two tented shelters operated by the Alpha Project or a shelter operated by Father Joe’s Villages at Golden Hall.

Three residents of Mission Village Condominiums on Hotel Circle South spoke against the project, which they described as next door to their homes. One speaker said she was concerned the hotel would be unsafe for its tenants because the neighborhood has no amenities and the pedestrian path to the nearest transit center is not safe.

Gina Catalano, another condominium resident, asked the committee to consider how the hotel conversion will impact her neighborhood.

“I believe this complex will place an undue burden on the people of Mission Village and it will destroy our community,” she said.

Marshall Anderson, vice president of government affairs at Downtown San Diego Partnership, supported the hotel purchases and said it was time other communities shared in addressing homelessness.

“For too long, downtown has acted as the region’s homeless shelter,” he said. “It’s nice to see another neighborhood bearing some of the responsibility for sheltering our most vulnerable.”

Committee members Monica Montgomery, Barbara Bry, Chris Cate and Vivian Moreno supported the purchases.

In a related action, the full City Council on Tuesday amended its contract with Father Joe’s Villages to expand the shelter it will operate at Golden Hall after the Convention Center shelter closes. The amendment adds 280 beds for single adults on the lower floor.

The agreement increased the contract by $2.9 million for nine months and uses money from the city’s general fund. The original contract was for 288 beds on the upper level and was funded with $4.7 million from the state’s Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention program.

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