San Diego County will end troubled COVID-19 hotel program

Chris VonKroog waits to cross Barnett Avenue in San Diego, December 15, 2021. VonKroog has been staying with his dog, Bobo, at a COVID-19 shelter hotel in Old Town since January. (Zoë Meyers/newsource)

San Diego County will stop using hotels as COVID-19 shelters by March 31 — more than two years after the turbulent program began isolating people who have nowhere else to go — because the federal funds used to pay for them are expected to run out, according to the housing outlet. David Estrella.

The hotel program costs at least $5.2 million per month, a first of its kind and has been praised for its success in preventing the spread of COVID-19. But internal source Reports over the past 18 months have revealed mismanagement, neglect and harassment of guests staying in hotels.

Estrella said the plan aims to connect the remaining residents with other housing options by the end of March, sending people to a homeless shelter as a last resort. Officials have already given out nearly 100 emergency housing vouchers to people at risk of homelessness.

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Chris Vonkrug, one of the hotel guests who received a voucher, worries about where it will end up. He said that while the voucher gives him financial support, it does nothing for his credit, and health issues prevent him from going to a homeless shelter.

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