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San Diego spent $7.2 million on providing portable showers for homeless

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(The Center Square) – The city of San Diego has spent $7.2 million on providing portable showers for its homeless population during a five-year period from 2018 to 2023.

The San Diego city council is set to finalize a $4.2 million payment to United Site Services of California at the April 9 meeting. The total deal cost the city $7.2 million. In 2023, San Diego estimated it had 6,500 homeless people living within the city limits.

During the pandemic, the city estimates that as many as 4,200 people had access to the portable showers. It was during the start of the pandemic when troubles between the vendor and the city started.

The payment concludes a controversial relationship with the vendor when the city filed a lawsuit claiming it was a victim of price gouging.

In 2022, the city of San Diego sued United Site Services for overcharging it for mobile showers needed for the homeless it was putting up in city facilities during the pandemic.

The city claimed the company was price gouging, an act City Attorney Mara Elliott described as “calculated and unconscionable.”

The city cited one example in which it was charged $3,220 per month for each individual shower stall. The mobile trailers held six shower stalls. The city stated the pre-pandemic pricing was quoted at between $1,333 to $1,583 per month per individual shower stall.

The city had wanted larger shower trailers during the pandemic and was again given the much higher quote for costs. According to the city, United Site Services said the portable showers were in great demand.

In 2023, the company settled the lawsuit by paying the city $1.18 million.

The city didn’t respond to emails seeking comment. United Site Services didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.