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Roof leak temporarily closes Golden Hall shelter in downtown San Diego

More than 300 homeless people will be moved from Golden Hall in downtown San Diego and will spend the next two weeks at a nearby motel or the Balboa Park Activity Center while crews work to repair water damage and leaks at the aging building.

Rachel Laing, communications director for San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s office, said the 360 people at the shelter were notified Tuesday that they will be driven by bus to either location Thursday morning. Single men and women and transitional-aged youth will be taken to the Balboa Park Activity Center while 49 families will be taken to a nearby Motel 6.

The shelter is operated by Father Joe’s Villages, and staff members from the nonprofit personally told people at the shelter about the move, Laing said.

The operation will affect play at the Activity Center, which has courts for badminton, volleyball, pickleball and areas for table tennis. The center is used by the San Diego Badminton Club, San Diego Table Tennis Association and the Women Adult Volley League.

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

“At this point it’s a safety issue we’re addressing,” he said. “We’re getting into winter. We know there’s going to be more storms, and we have to address this now.”

Casey Smith, director of the city’s General Services Department, said city crews also will take the opportunity to do a deep cleaning of bathrooms and inspect plumbing. Laing said the carpet also will be cleaned while people are gone.

Smith said the venue has seven or nine drains on the roof, and one is believe to have failed. The roof and ceiling have to be opened to find the problem, he said.

Food services will not be affected by the move, as meals were prepared at Father Joe’s Villages and taken to the shelter, and now will be sent to the other locations, Laing said.

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