San Diego’s Bridge Housing Program

San Diego’s Bridge Housing Program

Alpha Project’s @ 16th & Newton // Father Joe’s Villages’ @ 14th & Commercial // Veterans Village’s @ 17th & Imperial

  • San Diego’s Bridge Housing Program 3 1 Housing Innovation Collaborative
  • San Diego’s Bridge Housing Program Housing Innovation Collaborative
  • San Diego’s Bridge Housing Program Housing Innovation Collaborative
  • San Diego’s Bridge Housing Program Housing Innovation Collaborative


In December 2017, The Alpha Project’s Bridge Shelter opened in downtown San Diego, providing transitional housing for 324 single, adult men and women. This is the first of three bridge shelters in San Diego – the second bridge shelter in Midway District has since closed (capacity replaced with permanent housing facilities), and the third facility, originally managed by Father Joe’s Villages for families at 14th and Commercial, was relocated to 17th & Imperial (two blocks away), now managed by Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) and serving veterans experiencing homelessness.


  • In April 2017, the City of San Diego had 5,619 people experiencing homelessness, a 10.3% annual increase – becoming the fourth highest homeless population in the U.S. Countywide, San Diego region’s total of 9,100 homeless count was behind only New York City, Los Angeles County, and King County, Wash. (Seattle area), and 3rd largest homeless veterans population (1,067 veterans), where San Diego is recognized as the second best military town in the country (source).
  • In mid-2017, the Hepatitis A outbreak killed 20 people, and sickened hundreds of others — two-thirds of which were homeless  — becoming national news (source).

Mission: Quickly provide an alternative to encampments to help move people off the streets, through bridge housing facilities, and into long-term housing.



Owner: Land  is a vacated, dead-end street, located adjacent to The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System’s SANDAG service center, alongside the rail yard.

Previous Use: A winter shelter facility was previously erected on the dead-end street.

Use Arrangement: Street is owned by the City.

Site Selection Criteria Considerations: Years before, the dead-end cul-de-sac was in use as a temporary winter shelter facility (using an older, less durable tent structure).


Upfront Development* $2.0 million $500k site prep (no utility connections) paid by City + $1.5 million for Sprung Structure facility paid by Lucky Duck Foundation, used by the City at no charge.
Cost Per Bed* $6k/bed 324 beds in total (bunk-bed capacity)
Operating Costs* ~$6.2 million/year -Varies annually: San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) reserves and a federal Moving to Work grant, in addition to City general funds, and State HEAP, HHAP emergency grants.
Cost Per Bed* $19k/year $52.50/bed/night  blended rate based on range of $46-59/bed/night, varies based on intensity of case management required on-site.



Lead Deal Coordinator Download Housing Innovation CollaborativeThe City Of San Diego Logo 200x200 1 Housing Innovation Collaborative San Diego Housing Commission and City of San Diego
Philanthropic Funder Lucky Duck Foundation Processed B92ccf7ad25ca26fc5a094367afa50170b4c1bd1a1da8ffd90e8f396b8ee36f5 Logo Housing Innovation Collaborative Lucky Duck Foundation – Purchased two of the three interim shelter structures, the third purchased by City of San Diego.
Community Engagement The City Of San Diego Logo 200x200 1 Housing Innovation CollaborativeAlpha Project Logo Large Housing Innovation Collaborative City of San Diego + Alpha Project
Construction Management + Onsite Assembly The City Of San Diego Logo 200x200 1 Housing Innovation Collaborative San Diego City’s General Services and City Facilities Depts
Shelter Vendor / Manufacturer Download 1 Housing Innovation Collaborative Sprung Structure



Lead Operator:

Alpha Project Logo Large Housing Innovation Collaborative

Operator Alpha Project is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) human services organization that serves over 4,000 men, women, and children each day. Founded in 1986 as a simple project offering work opportunities for homeless men. The agency has created over 600 units of affordable rental housing projects and has sponsored home ownership programs.
Agreement The San Diego Housing Commission Board of Commissioners, San Diego’s City Council, and the San Diego Housing Authority authorized the execution of agreements for the operation of the City’s Temporary Bridge Shelters and continue to be reviewed and approved annually – see notes for additional detail.
  • 50 day-shift workers
  • ~6.5 clients/residents per residential coordinator
  • Shelter Manager
  • Program Supervisor
  • Logistic Coordinators
  • Case Managers
  • Security
  • Janitorial
  • Back-end Admin
Services Provided Alpha Project provides wraparound services, which include intensive case management, linkages to medical and mental health support, groups and classes for self- awareness.

  • 24-hour residential services and staffing
  • At least two (2) meals per days.
  • Security, janitorial services, waste removal, fire watch, laundry.
  • Serves the community’s most vulnerable individuals from each of the intervention categories using a low barrier and Housing First model;
  • Uses best practices techniques and delivery system such as Motivational Interviewing, Trauma Informed Care, and Critical Time Intervention; and
  • Utilizes Housing Navigation
  • Strives to create a cohesive workflow within the Regional Coordinated Entry System (CES).
  • ~$52.50/bed/night operating costs
Operating Expenses
  • On-Site Personnel
  • Maintenance
  • Client Services, meals


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