Downtown San Diego homeless shelter devastated by flooding

Elizabeth Kenoyer stood Monday afternoon on a downtown intersection in the gathering mist.

Gray hair was matted against her forehead. A pink hoodie sagged with rainwater.

She stared through a chain link fence at a large white tent. Somewhere inside was her heart medication. Kenoyer just had to get past an upturned dumpster, two overturned refrigerators, 10 fallen Porta Potties and who knew how much water.

“It’s life or death for me,” she said.

Kenoyer was one of hundreds of people displaced Monday from two homeless shelters amid flooding caused by unexpectedly heavy rains , but the damage was especially pronounced at Alpha Project’s Bridge Shelter by 16th Street and Newton Avenue, where several residents said they’d had to flee out the back through waste-deep water.

“The inside is completely destroyed,” Bob McElroy, Alpha Project’s president and CEO, said in a phone interview.

Cleaning could take months if the tent was even salvageable, he said. The nonprofit also lost two vans.

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