San Diego’s $1 Billion Mega Homeless Shelter Raises Concerns from Residents | Scott Silverman

San Diego’s $1 Billion Mega Homeless Shelter Raises Concerns from Residents | Scott Silverman
California Insider Opinion
Key Takeaways
  • 0:00 San Diego’s $1B Shelter Proposal Raises Concerns
  • 02:28 A “Mega Shelter” Might Not Be the Best Solution Right Now
  • 04:28 What’s Going On With San Diego’s Homelessness Situation
  • 08:16 How Should We Approach Solving Homelessness
San Diego’s proposed mega shelter project has sparked a robust debate among experts, community leaders, and residents. With a planned capacity of 1,000 beds and a projected budget of one billion dollars over a 32-year lease, the shelter aims to address the city’s escalating homelessness crisis. However, Scott Silverman, a prominent addiction recovery expert in San Diego, has raised significant concerns about the feasibility and effectiveness of such a large-scale initiative.
Concerns About Scale and Location

Silverman compares the proposed shelter to “building a prison but not calling it a prison.” His analogy highlights the potential pitfalls of housing 1,000 individuals, many with complex issues such as substance abuse disorders, mental health challenges, and untreated trauma, under one roof. The location of the shelter, flanked by trolley tracks and a major freeway, raises additional safety concerns, particularly after dark. The environment, he argues, could exacerbate the already precarious situations of the homeless population it aims to serve.

The Nature of Shelters and Their Limitations

The expert’s critique extends to the inherent nature of shelters. Silverman likens them to emergency departments that offer a temporary fix rather than a long-term solution. Shelters typically provide a place to sleep and minimal medical attention, but do not address the underlying issues of addiction, mental health, and life skills. The revolving door nature of shelters, where individuals must leave during the day and return at night, fails to offer stability or a path to recovery.

Lack of Comprehensive Services

Silverman underscores the lack of comprehensive services in the proposed plan. Effective homelessness intervention, he argues, requires more than just providing a bed. It necessitates access to treatment, assessment, education, and prevention programs. Historically, shelters have not provided these wraparound services, leaving a critical gap in the continuum of care needed to genuinely help individuals rebuild their lives.

Financial Accountability and Effectiveness

The financial aspect of the mega shelter also comes under scrutiny. With a billion-dollar price tag, the community deserves transparency and accountability regarding how these funds will be utilized. Silverman points out the state’s previous expenditures on homelessness—nearly $25 billion over the last five years—have not led to a significant reduction in the homeless population. This calls into question the effectiveness of simply allocating more funds without a strategic and integrated approach.

Alternative Solutions and a Call for Change

Silverman advocates for a more nuanced and individualized approach to addressing homelessness. He emphasizes the need for personalized care plans, continuous monitoring, and accountability for service providers. Additionally, he highlights the importance of differentiating between the needs of various subgroups within the homeless population, such as families, veterans, teenagers, and individuals with chronic illnesses.


The proposed San Diego mega shelter represents a significant financial and logistical undertaking aimed at mitigating homelessness. However, the concerns raised by Scott Silverman highlight critical flaws in the plan, suggesting that without a comprehensive, individualized, and transparent approach, the shelter may not achieve its intended goals. As the city council deliberates on this proposal, it is imperative to consider these insights to develop a more effective and humane solution to homelessness in San Diego

*Views expressed in this video/article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of California Insider.
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