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Golden Hall shelter reopens after repairs

More than 300 homeless people returned to Golden Hall on Wedensday after spending two weeks at different sites while repairs were made to the aging building that is being used as a shelter run by Father Joe’s Villages.

The venue was built in 1964 and shares San Diego Civic Plaza with City Hall and the Civic Theater, and over the years has hosted Comic-Con and concerts by the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Clash and many other bands. In 1973–74, it was home to the San Diego Conquistors basketball team coached by Wilt Chamberlain.

Seldom used these days, Father Joe’s began using it as a shelter for adults, families and youths in 2019.

Heavy rains caused water damage to the building last month, and on Nov. 17, the 360 Father Joe’s Villages’ clients at the shelter were evacuated from the building, with 49 families going to a nearby motel and others going to the Balboa Park Activity Center.

Rachel Laing, communications director for San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s office, said the city took the opportunity to make many repairs to the building while it was vacant.

The roof downspout and ceiling in the main hall were repaired, and repairs and refurbishments were made to bathrooms on both floors.

Holes were patched and painted, faucets and toilets were repaired and replaced, dispensers for toilet paper and paper towers were repaired or replaced, and partitions and partitions doors also were replaced or repaired.

Other repairs were made to stair railings, door hardware, electric switches and lights, ceiling tiles and to broken glass in doors.

The lift to comply with the Americans With Disability Act was repaired, two shower trailers were replaced, graffiti was removed and carpets and bathrooms got a deep cleaning.

Laing said a cost of the repairs was not immediately available.

Chris Heister, chief of the city’s Emergency Services Department, said before the evacuation that portions of Golden Hall’s ceiling and walls fell during recent rains, but did not harm anyone inside.

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