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News that the Neil Good Day Center will soon close is causing much angst among the ever-growing homeless population in downtown San Diego.

Myra, supervisor at Neil Good Day Center, recently said, "Layoffs have already begun, and if things do not change, it will close at the end of June.” Though primarily funded by the City, the facility relies on donors to cover operational expenses.

The center, founded in 1991 and taken over by St. Vincent de Paul Village in 2008, is located on 17th Street. Besides relief from the elements, Neil Good offers job counseling, showers for the disabled, drug therapy groups, legal aid, mail service, and other tangible and heartwarming services.

Volunteers from the ranks of the homeless at the Village do the chores and clean. I am one of those volunteers. I sweep 17th Street and know well what problems the homeless and the community face. These problems are about to get larger!

A year ago, the homeless numbered 4000 in the Neil Good area, 7000 downtown, and 17,000 in San Diego. These masses are growing daily, and many more people are close to losing their housing. Many who are not homeless do not sleep well at night knowing the facts of this economy.

Anyone who frequents the eastern portions of downtown knows the lack of public bathrooms creates a terrible problem. The showers at St. Vincent’s are also to be closed June 30, according to Myra. “St. Vincent’s supplies the homeless with 150 to 175 showers a day and up to 225 per day during the summer,” she says. “We have the only family showers for the homeless in San Diego.”

Isaac, a longtime user of Neil Good services and a regular at San Diego City Council meetings, told me, “I noticed the director of Alpha Project and some staff touring Neil Good a couple of days ago.” Alpha Project is said to be a possible candidate for running Neil Good if funding is available.

“If Neil Good closes, it would be a reality TV that no one wants to see,” Isaac said.

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