Pricy Plan Calls For Renovating Vacant Hotels
Published Aug. 26
Some things are so unbelievable that when you see or read them, you have to do a double-take and go over it two or even three times to be sure what you saw the first time is what is really in front of your eyes.
This one certainly qualifies: According to a story in the Union-Tribune, the city of San Diego is looking into spending $120 million to convert two vacant hotels into shelters for the homeless. This would house 340 people.
Now if I am reading this correctly, that is $352,941 per homeless person.
What kind of amenities will these people be receiving for that mind of money? Rooftop pool and jacuzzi with an open bar? Fireplaces in every room? Daily maid service with a nightly turndown, perhaps even with a mint on the pillow?
And as dizzying as that number is, what is more incredible is that the person in charge of it hailed it as a “game changer” in solving San Diego’s massive homeless problem (and it is a massive problem; I encounter it everyday living in the Gaslamp).
“These are often-used phases I don’t use lightly, but this is a new paradigm,” Rick Gentry, president and CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission, told the U-T. “If this all plays out, it will be a game-changer. And you’ve never heard me use that term before.”
I am not sure what is more preposterous, spending 300+K per person for housing or the head of the organization bragging about it.
If it were me, I would be really quiet and go about my work in a hidden corner of the office. When a supervisor asked me how the project is going, I would say “oh, just fine” with the hope that he or she would not ask me the cost of it.
And when the inevitable question comes up, I would mutter, hoping not to be heard or understood, “er, about $120 million.”
I would then prepare to pack my bags and start writing my resignation letter.
But hey, maybe that’s the way things work in that business. By comparison, this may be a bargain.
According to the UT’s story, “the Housing Commission has bought and converted nine hotels over the past 12 years, but many required extensive and costly renovations. The SDHC-owned Hotel Churchill, for example, required two years of refurbishing at a cost of $20.6 million.”
There are more homeless shelter numbers too numbing to mention here. Below is a link to the full story: