Mayor’s Rep Responds to Concerns About Unhoused San Diegans at ‘H Barracks’

by on November 6, 2023 · 6 comments

in Homelessness, Ocean Beach

Kohta Zaiser, mayor’s rep

At the most recent monthly meeting of the OB Town Council, a member of Mayor Gloria’s office tried to allay people’s concerns and fears about a homeless facility being established at “H Barracks.” Kohta Zaiser addressed the issue at the October 26 meeting of the OBTC by saying the entire concept and idea is “in the very early stages.”

H Barracks is the site of a former public safety training facility near the airport, nestled behind hotels and across the boat channel from the Liberty Station cultural and commercial complex in Point Loma.

The city has floated the idea of a potential plan to house hundreds of homeless people at the site. The current structures have been abandoned and will be demolished, and there are plans to build a pumping station built in about five years as part of the city’s Pure Water program to clean recycled water into drinking water.

Meanwhile, the city is considering creating a homeless facility on the site as early as June, though details have been vague.

Zaiser told the  gathering, as reported by the Pt Loma-OB Monthly:

“We are in the very early stages of planning on what that will eventually look like. It could be ‘safe sleeping’ [where homeless people can live in tents]. It could be ‘safe parking… We want to see what we can place there.'”

Some area residents have pushed back. See this.

Zaiser said, the around-the clock facility would be fenced and have security, along with several services for the people there. Zaiser added:

“There’s not a time where they are going to be kicked out and have to relocate during the day and then come back at night. [The area] is fairly non-pedestrian-friendly. It’s quite a ways over [about a mile walk] to Liberty Station.”

The Monthly reported:

The City Council approved an Unsafe Camping Ordinance in June that officially went into effect July 30, prohibiting homeless encampments in public spaces throughout the city if shelter beds are available. The ordinance also bans encampments at all times in certain sensitive areas — within two blocks of schools or shelters and at all city parks, waterways, canyons and transit stations — regardless of shelter availability. But the city also has established safe sleeping sites on two city-owned parking lots adjacent to Balboa Park: at O Lot, with a 400-tent capacity, and at 20th and B streets (136-tent capacity).

Zaiser told the meeting that the community’s qualms are a common, though unfounded, reaction that will be addressed as the concept fleshes out. “I get the fears that come with seeing this without any context,” and that formation of a community group would help drive the process as the project moves forward. OBTC board member Mandy Havlik agreed.

She was quoted:

“I’m trying to be a voice of reason with regard to this, because we do have a homelessness issue and I don’t believe ‘No, I don’t want it in my neighborhood’ is sufficient anymore. I am encouraged to hear about the community stakeholders group, that you’re drawing other people to be a part of that conversation.”

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron May November 6, 2023 at 5:45 pm

I have read with interest the fears and complaints of the proposal to demolish the former United States Navy H-barracks and turn the grounds into a tent city for homeless people. While I expect people will be unhappy with my position, I believe a far better plan that addresses both health and dignity of San Diego’s homeless population would be to restore the H-barracks and remodel the interiors to create dignified apartments for the homeless families. The City of San Diego should hire a team of mental heath counselors and medical staff to address the needs of these people. I personally despise dumping families in a temporary tent city that will never address the root problem. I say, given them a home with dignity. Ron May


Carl M Zanolli November 7, 2023 at 7:34 am

Set up tents on your property and invite them to stay there. You can give them all the dignity you think they ought to get. . on your own property


retired botanist November 7, 2023 at 1:53 pm

Ron you have a good point, and I agree no one should be living in a tent city in the US, its appalling and what is supposed to be an interim solution ends up being a band aid for a hemorrhaging problem. Although I’m not familiar with what/how many structures comprise the barracks, I expect those used by the fire departments can’t be salvaged b/c of chemicals. But any structures would be better than a giant lot of tents…


Dave B November 6, 2023 at 7:26 pm

“H” Barracks was good enough for me in the winter of 1957.
Let us not let this resource go to waste another winter as the unhoused seek shelter.

dave b


J November 6, 2023 at 11:03 pm

Questions raised after homeless man found dead in a tent at the Golden Hill Safe Sleeping Site.


jo thompson November 13, 2023 at 3:38 am

Over 11 years ago, when I moved to Pacific Beach, I adopted the beach to clean up what tourists leave behind “only to be swept out to the ocean”. But I found that the homeless on the beach and boardwalk had daily needs as well. How does one turn their back on elderly homeless, cold nights without blankets, etc
The last few years, I’d take the trolley down to the Imperial St stop with what I could fit in suitcases and distribute one-on-one to those un-housed and the numbers grew. Just a drop in the bucket, but those I met would say Please come back. Or one young man so thin, but so polite: You’re spoiling me over and over. My reply would be: You just need to feel MOTHERED. We live in a world that needs mothering. Each one of us can do something, besides saying NO to those with legitimate needs. Every individual deserves dignity. Instead of being part of the problem, become part of the solution. For all of us to live sustainably, let us treat each other with Kindness. Today, November 13 is National Kindness to Others Day. Reach out to someone with a kind heart.
We have the ability to help stop procrastination, to stop wars, to stop hating. GIVE ENCOURAGEMENT. STOP JUDGING. SAVE OURSELVES. YIELD.


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