A taste of Hollywood could provide a new solution to help San Diego’s homeless population.  In this Zevely Zone, I went to Kearney Mesa to take a tour of “Strategic Habitats”.

A taste of Hollywood could help San Diego’s homeless population

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a stainless steel refrigerator in a kitchen


© Provided by KFMB San Diego


In the 1990’s, Stu Segall Productions was one of the largest independent television and movie studios in the country.  San Diego’s Strategic Operations then stepped in to use that Hollywood magic to train nearly a million people in the military with sets that looked so real, the people in charge thought to themselves why couldn’t they be?



a bedroom with a large window


© Provided by KFMB San Diego


Kit Lavell, the CEO of San Diego’s Strategic Operations says his company is now committed to solving one of our nation’s biggest problems — housing our homeless population — with the introduction of “Strategic Habitats”, an innovative, affordable, long-term solution for temporary housing for homeless families.



a stove top oven sitting inside of a building


© Provided by KFMB San Diego


“This is our solution for the homeless problem it’s called Strategic Habitats,” said Kit.  

It’s estimated eight thousand people are homeless in San Diego County.  The city is providing temporary shelter at the San Diego Convention Center but when that closes homeless advocates like the Alpha Project are looking for affordable options.



a close up of a door


© Provided by KFMB San Diego


“Strategic Habitats are larger than hotel rooms, which recently have been converted to homeless housing, while our Strategic Habitats are priced 30 to 40 percent less than converted hotels or new construction,” said Kit. 

“Additionally, Strategic Habitats are much quicker to complete over new construction and the units can easily be assembled in a variety of configurations and placed on parking lots or any open property.”



a close up of a brick building


© Provided by KFMB San Diego


Strategic Operations has modified thousands of 40-foot-long shipping containers to create training facilities at military bases all over the world. The movie industry type facades become hyper-realistic interiors and exteriors that look just like the real thing. Strategic Habitats will be constructed in much the same way — producing 480-square-foot single-family homes that are equipped with full plumbing for bathrooms and kitchen, as well as air conditioning and heating for just over $ 125,000 a unit.



a view of a room


© Provided by KFMB San Diego


The containers can be stacked four high and just need electricity and land. 

“Parking lot obviously, city owned land in various different places especially near transportation,” said Kit.  

Over the last few years News 8 has reported on several stories on how shipping containers are being used for an encore performances. An East County homeowner built a beautiful house out of containers and one San Diego company is using them to build mobile COVID testing labs.



a stove top oven sitting inside of a kitchen


© Provided by KFMB San Diego


“There’s a place for everything. Anything we can do to create housing for the homeless works,” said Kit. 



a close up of a door


© Provided by KFMB San Diego


If Hollywood can cash in on affordable housing, why not ship a few shipping containers to the people who need them the most.

“We just need to get the word out,” said Kit.

RELATED: San Diego nonprofit helps homeless youth with trust, tunes

To learn more about Strategic Habitats go to www.strategic-operations.com.

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