Why People Oppose a Homeless Facility at Barracks H

by on November 3, 2023 · 33 comments

in Homelessness, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Here’s the text of a petition that opposes a homeless “camp” at Barracks H near Point Loma. (The petition is misleading in that it calls the proposed site “Liberty Station”.) It was started by Derek Falconer and as of this posting, has garnered 3862 signatures.

by Derek Falconer

Last year, at our local Little League field, my 7 year old son encountered a homeless man in the public bathroom without pants who had soiled himself, was mumbling incoherently, and had a needle in his arm.  My son was very shaken as a result of being exposed to such tragedy at such an innocent age.  As a parent, I struggled to explain to a 7 year-old what had happened to the man and why our community was okay with this sort of thing at a Little League field where kids were supposed to be enjoying wholesome childhood experiences like baseball games and snack shack treats with friends.

That is why, when I heard about the newly enacted San Diego Comprehensive Shelter Strategy, I had to act.  The plan includes a 700-bed homeless shelter at Barracks H in Liberty Station’s east end. This represents between 1/3 and 1/4 of San Diego’s entire homeless population being relocated to Liberty Station, a beloved location for families and children.

We must force city leaders to reevaluate this proposal!

Proximity to Schools

The proposed shelter is irresponsibly close (within half a mile) to NINE certified San Diego City School campuses, not to mention several pre-schools and children’s educational centers in the vicinity. A shelter of this magnitude will expose our children to drug paraphernalia, individuals undergoing psychosis, and other challenges prevalent among the homeless. This is not a conducive or safe environment for our children.

Impact on Liberty Station and Military Families

Liberty Station, with neighborhoods like Admiralty Row, Beacon Point, and Anchor Cove, is home to numerous families. Further, over 500 military families reside nearby. Many others frequent Liberty Station for its family-friendly parks and waterfront. Introducing a shelter of this size will extinguish the community-centric atmosphere Liberty Station is known for.


San Diego Bay is a key player in the city’s tourism industry. The introduction of a sizable shelter, potentially with visible tents and related challenges, will deter visitors. This poses a threat not just to the tourists’ experience but to the city’s tourism-based revenue, Harbor Island Hotels, and Spanish Landing Park and playground.

Local Commerce Implications

The proposed shelter will escalate challenges for local businesses, ranging from theft to disturbances, causing long-standing businesses to leave the area.

San Diego International Airport Concerns

With the shelter’s proximity to the airport, there will be escalated security concerns, particularly given the ongoing terminal construction. This could manifest as increased break-ins, traffic issues, and misuse of airport amenities.

Exacerbating Existing Challenges

Even now, the Point Loma community faces challenges like theft, trespassing, and harassment from some individuals in the current homeless  population. Introducing an additional 700 individuals, especially without a robust plan, will heighten these problems.

Strain on Governance Organizations

Entities such as the Port of San Diego Harbor Police, Liberty Station Community Association, NTC Foundation, and the City of San Diego’s Park and Recreation Department play pivotal roles in maintaining community standards. Their tasks and responsibilities will be overwhelmed by this proposal.

We genuinely recognize the importance of supporting our homeless community. Yet, it is crucial to balance this with ensuring the safety, dignity, and well-being of all San Diego residents.


As a collective of concerned residents and stakeholders, we vehemently oppose the current proposal. We demand an immediate reevaluation and insist upon a dialogue that includes all affected parties. Decisions must prioritize safety, collaboration, and the common good.

By signing this petition, we call upon city officials to revisit the proposal for Liberty Station, advocating for a solution that aligns with the best interests of all.

Stand with us. Let’s safeguard the security and integrity of our community for everyone.

In addition to signing please contact our elected representatives and let them know how you feel!

Mayor Todd Gloria:  MayorToddGloria@sandiego.gov

Councilmember Jen Campbell: jennifercampbell@sandiego.gov

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Gregg g Sullivan November 3, 2023 at 1:16 pm

This is why we can’t solve homelessness because people like this making assumptions about the homeless based on non-factual evidence. this could put a good dent in homeless population. I’m all for it and I wouldn’t be opposed if we had a shelter, along with supportive services, here in OB.


Gregg D Sullivan November 4, 2023 at 12:48 pm

You edited my comment; can’t say shithead?


Chris November 3, 2023 at 2:42 pm

What a selfish take. We are at a point where proximity to your damn kids (yes I said “damn kids”) are not a valid reason for there not to be facilities for the unhoused.


Vern November 3, 2023 at 4:24 pm

Do you have children? If yes, how many, approximately how old are they and where do they live?


Chris November 3, 2023 at 7:59 pm

I don’t have kids but whether or not I’d feel differently if I did is irrelevant. Homelessness has been exploding and will continue to do so for the long foreseeable future. It’s gotten so bad where I live (Hillcrest) that there are sometimes syringes in our alley and on one occasion someone defalcating.


Courtney November 4, 2023 at 7:30 am


Since you don’t seem bothered by the homeless, maybe you should set up a couple of tents on your property and invite them to stay with you.


Chris November 5, 2023 at 5:28 am

Non sensical comment on your part as I’m sure even you’d admit.
I would in fact support a homeless shelter in my neighborhood.


Chris November 5, 2023 at 6:07 am

Also Courtney what make your comments non sensical is now where did I say I like homeless people pooping and doing drugs right there in my presence. How did you come to that lol?


TCS November 6, 2023 at 10:48 am

Just one occasion? Lucky…


retired botanist November 3, 2023 at 5:05 pm

Um, gonna try to politely point out the 1st world perspective of parents who signed this. I’m sorry your 7-yr old had to experience that encounter, but I’m also sorry ANYONE has to experience that encounter, including myself (which I have)…as well as the PERSON who was experiencing it.
I’m astounded at the ease with which the homeless, unsheltered, and/or addicted people are relegated to some OTHER status, as if they aren’t part of our human population. And that they belong SOMEWHERE else, ANYWHERE else, but not “near my child’s Little League field”. It was, understandably, a sad but so relevant, teaching moment in compassion, understanding. One thing I learned as a parent is that whatever I’m feeling, my child is going to reflect, so if you expressed negativity, fear, anxiety, so will your child. If you expressed recognition, concern, compassion, understanding, so will your child.
Much as you might like, we do not live in a utopian world. You think your children are too young to be exposed to problems, upsetting events? We live in a world of troubles and problems right on our doorstep! Please try and use these situations and opp’tys to teach, to solve, to help. Your children will then mature into incredibly compassionate humans.


WillScott November 3, 2023 at 9:06 pm

So, where shall we put the largest homeless encampment in the entire San Diego region? I know — right next to:
— The airport, which will be finishing up a $2.7 billion “upgrade” right about the time this opens.
— Four visitor-oriented hotels that give tens of thousands of people a year their first impression of San Diego.
— Spanish Landing, whose waterfront greenspaces, playground and beach are heavily used for recreation, family gatherings and other community events.
— And last but not least, Liberty Station, which has to be one of it not THE most successful redevelopments of a closed military installation anywhere in the United States, and a place used widely by people and groups from every corner of San Diego, as well as visitors. (And no, it is not “a mile” away unless you think the only thing in Liberty Station is the Public Market.)
Anyway, great plan guys. I’m sure it will work out just fine.


Chris November 4, 2023 at 6:38 am

Perhaps it would be a good reality check for visitors to see first hand the kinds of problems that arise with a city growing more expensive by the day.


WillScott November 4, 2023 at 11:23 am

Wow you might be onto something here…. Not only do we give visitors an instant “reality check” about San Diego, but if we keep devaluing civic assets such as those bordering this site, it’ll be less expensive to live here in no time!


Frank Gormlie November 4, 2023 at 11:49 am

Good point. Why do we want to hide the underside of beautiful San Diego? We can’t hide from the huge disparity in economic levels in this country – the worse it has been in over a 100 years. Take it a step further – why would we want to hide our children from the sight of the poor? By protecting our children from the sad state of affairs we live under, we perpetuate the falsehoods that encourage many of us to assume it’s okay to ignore the unhoused. That just continues our blind eyes to class oppression in the “freest country in the world.”


chris schultz November 4, 2023 at 2:52 pm

So the answer is where is the appropriate place to put homeless? Schools and communities that won’t be affected by what the homeless do. Security concerns. Where do you want to stash them?


retired botanist November 5, 2023 at 9:08 am

Joni, thank you for your comment, and for reminding me about what-all went down when the Liberty Station development got brokered. Just like so many, many proposals in SD, what gets built is never what was promised. If I recall, McMillin was the major developer of Liberty Station. I wonder if any sanctions (against the City or anyone else) followed the (failure of) construction?
And to Chris schultz, your comment sums up such a terrible, prevalent attitude: “Where to stash them?”, as if they are some sort of expired subset that needs to be isolated away from the “real humanity”. I know you were just trying to be glib, but language is everything these days. These folks need to be re-assimilated into all our communities. And they need the dignity of being needed, and the knowledge that people actually care about their well being.


J November 5, 2023 at 11:50 pm

They also need to care about THEIR own well being and want help. Unfortunately many do not want help that is being offered.


retired botanist November 6, 2023 at 2:52 pm

J- I don’t know how many homeless folks you’ve actually engaged with, or your comprehension of the various and myriad problems they have, so I am not judging- maybe you have some 1st person experience, too.
But the unsheltered folks I’ve spent time with, and there have been quite a few, including a family member, and including some with drug problems, some with financial problems, some with health problems, all have shared ONE thing in common: they DO care about THEIR well being. For some, there has been no help offered. For others, the help is inadequate. And for still others, their outlook is bleak, no surprise. I have literally seen men’s half-way houses in east SD areas where the bologna is weighed out and the social workers don’t care where the bus tokens take them. Not that they have anywhere TO go, b/c nobody cares.
I sense you are coming from the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” place; an assumption that they all simply can, and want to be, better citizens. But until you wear the shoes of being ostracized, I get that it is hard to see thru the murk of their plight.
And as a parent myself, who as a single mom raised a child in Hillcrest and OB, I understand your priority, but would also say that we all have a responsibility to our fellow men and women- and THAT is a lesson that has resulted in my child now having an understanding and compassion for her fellow humans, regardless of their circumstances, that I think is exemplary. And some of that comes from her exposure to the plight of others. Just sayin. :-)


chris schultz November 6, 2023 at 10:13 am

Glib is the response of we know the reasons why we don’t want having to have homeless where we don’t want them. The article points to what is wrong with the barracks and why it doesn’t work. There’s always going to be a school, a park, a business, or something that doesn’t work for somebody. My response is to elicit dialogue for solutions. What works? If you have a complaint, provide a solution. And being judgmental without understanding my communication point can be?


retired botanist November 6, 2023 at 3:21 pm

Chris S- and you HAVE elicited response and I thank you for that. Imo, there are lots of solutions, but we often get mired down by the half-empty POV. Sort of like gun control or elimination of the electoral college, those who advocate for it often get stuck in mantras such as “well, that would require an amendment to the Constitution”…that is, the problem seems TOO big. But the bigger problem is our view on change.
And such it is with our homeless- as you say, no matter where we select to ‘park” or “stash” them, they are going to be next door to someone, and likely someone with children. So the first solution is re-framing our attitudes about who these folks are, how they came to be in their circumstances, and taking some personal ‘priority’ to find innovators with solutions that help. The barracks site has a lot of merit, partly b/c, as articles have pointed out, razed or not, it is a site w/ some environmental problems per chemicals and prior use etc, which make it potentially untenable for other real estate or commercial uses. Yet, it is a site w/out other environmental problems like sensitive species, etc. Second, in spite of what the petition claims, it is not smack dab in the middle of another residential neighborhood. Is it near a Little league field? I dunno, maybe- but if that’s the problem, how hard would it be to change fields? Rob Field instead. Not going to belabor each point, but I think you can see where I’m coming from. The biggest stumbling block is our attitude. I am not the creator of ultimate solutions- my brain is way too small- but I do search for those who are helpers instead of obstructionists. And again, thx for engaging in this dialog, whatever your POV, b/c its important to all of us.


J November 5, 2023 at 11:54 pm

Why don’t we just set up the shelter on Ocean Beach! Or maybe Balboa park. Or Harbor Island. Or shelter island. Or seaport village. Or Fiesta Island. I don’t see why that wouldn’t work if we are going to place one on this location as well. From all of the reasoning I am hearing this wouldn’t be disagreeable for folks.


Greg November 6, 2023 at 8:07 am

There probably should be one in Ocean Beach.


TCS November 6, 2023 at 9:49 am

I think we should find the most expensive property, perhaps with ocean views, for the location of a shelter. Instead of tax funded services being maximized towards treatment and helping out individuals, the funds could be dumped into expensive property instead.


Chris November 6, 2023 at 9:58 am

You’re bringing up strawman arguments. The reason the RTC site was selected is because it’s been an abandoned for years (other than being used for fire fighting training). Since you brought up those other areas, I live in Hillcrest park just up the street from Balboa Park and I would very much be ok with a homeless facility being put in there. I though there already was an area of it to be used as a homeless camp site.


retired botanist November 6, 2023 at 3:30 pm

Nope, not at all, got a spot in mind? :-)


TCS November 6, 2023 at 10:45 am

As a parent/former coach at the various local youth fields, I would like to thank Derek Falconer for this efforts with the subject petition. Our young children should not have to be exposed to the uncertain environments that exist around the local parks and associated restrooms.
This is not a “selfish take” as one comment suggests. This is simply people who work hard to choose a safe place to raise families.
This is not about “hiding our children from the sight of the poor” as a comment suggests. It is about the health and safety and our children.


J November 6, 2023 at 4:36 pm

Agree whole heartedly. Thank you for your succinct and common sense opinion.


retired botanist November 6, 2023 at 4:56 pm

TCS, while it may not be a “selfish take”, it IS about segregating your children from the problems that other children, their peers, children of homeless parents, experience. But you see them as different and not relevant to your kids, can only wonder how that plays out in another 10 years. I’ve exhausted my pleas on this thread.


J November 6, 2023 at 11:06 pm
Jonathan November 14, 2023 at 7:00 pm

This is a very complex issue with big emotions and few effective solutions. Parents want the best for their children. I understand. To not provide a PLACE though for these folks, means instead they live in our empty lots, backstreets, alleys and riverbeds — even closer and geo-integrated to locales amongst the more affluent and commercial, and without sanitation which defacto becomes everyone’s health problem, as history has shown here in San Diego. Some of our children will become homeless or without resources no matter how well we make take care of them and raise them. Look around you. With rising anxiety and unsociability among our teen and young adult population, what makes anyone think your own children, when you are long gone will not become one of them one day? I am speaking from experience here about one of my own family members. It’s heartbreaking. As Americans we believe in free-will. We all respect that value. And we must then accept that free will also comes with those who cannot or will not be housed. This is a reality that must be dealt with. This Barrack H solution is not very near children and schools. It’s near a stinking sewage pump station in no-man’s land. If truly concerned, then access to the bridge connecting the two sides of the canal/former SD river could be regulated. BTW, I was recently in Vancouver BC Canada. Their solution is interesting and seems to me a solution, for what it’s worth.


Debbie November 15, 2023 at 6:12 am

Has the City considered housing at Howard Johnson’s, Loma Lodge, Travelodge around Rosecrans? They seem to be low occupancy most of the time.


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