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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The city of San Diego today opened a camping area for the homeless, with 24-hour security, bathrooms and storage.
The 136-space facility was set up in the parking lot of the city operations yard in Golden Hill, just south of the Balboa Park Golf Course.
The camping area is operated by the nonprofit Alpha Project like a typical campground, with rules and regulations and an on-site manager. Each person will register and be assigned a 13- by 13-foot campsite, but each space can accommodate one or more individuals.
CBS8 reported that 40 women, 15 children and two fathers had registered for the camp by late morning.
``We'll try to find these families -- we'll get as many in here as possible,'' Alpha Project CEO Bob McElroy told the station. ``It's a starting point. I think in the next year or so in San Diego, there's going to be a huge difference in what the streets look like today, as opposed to what they'll look like in the future.''
Some city operations and personnel have been moved to make room for the camp, which will be temporary until three larger tent shelters open.
A lack of shelter space has been blamed in part for an outbreak of hepatitis A in San Diego that has killed 17 people. The City Council last week declared an emergency over a lack of shelter space for the homeless, whose numbers have grown dramatically over the past few years.
Nurses provided 18 hepatitis A vaccinations this morning at the camping area.