Father Joe’s Villages creating affordable housing for homeless men, women and children

SAN DIEGO – Father Joe’s Villages is rolling out a new plan that could help thousands of homeless men, women and children get off the street.

The proposal will breathe new life in under-used lots and over-looked buildings.

Laura Morgan has lived on San Diego streets for the last 14 years, struggling every day to find a warm meal and a safe place to sleep.  Like many, she found refuge at Father Joe’s Villages.

“This is my concrete, around this block and if you don’t think I’m serious. There are people that remember me and I think it was one of my case managers who said yes I remember when you were out there bear footed, running around, walking around corners with a shopping cart and possibly a dog,” said Laura Morgan, a resident at Father Joe’s Villages.

In 2012 her life changed completely.  Morgan found an affordable apartment and now works to help others find their way off the sidewalks.

“Everyone deserves a place to call their home but it takes a lot of work. It takes a whole lot of work,” she said.

Father Joe’s has unveiled a county wide plan to address homelessness. It involves converting empty, old motels around the community into affordable housing.

“Sleeping on the street is often the final leg of another wise complicated path of unpredictable circumstances. Turning the key, makes easily accessible supportive services, a core component to housing, which helps assure lasting self-sufficiency for each individual,” said Jim Vargas, president and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages.

The apartments will be available to seniors, veterans, families, individuals, transitional age youth and people with disabilities who are experiencing homelessness.

“Right now, in downtown alone, we have about 1,000 of people on the streets on any given night in addition to that, numerous others in and around my council district make this a growing and urgent problem,” said Chris Ward, San Diego City Councilmember, District 3.

The group anticipates the cost of remodeling those motels at more than half a billion dollars, and includes the construction of new buildings on some empty lots.  Leaders with Father Joe’s say they’re about three-quarters of the way to meeting that goal.

“Father Joe’s Villages has long been involved in finding solutions for our homeless population and this proposal is another major step in helping our homeless,” said Myrtle Cole, San Diego City Council President.

Father Joe’s is expected to start renovation on some motel properties this year.

It also, plans to break ground on new buildings in 2018.

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