California legislators and our governor have the ability to reform the building permit process to create more housing much faster.
The city wants to purchase a hotel near Imperial Beach to convert into a transitional housing facility. But the state’s Coastal Commission has said the project runs the risk of violating its requirement that cities preserve cheap hotel rooms near the beach. City Councilman David Alvarez alerted the agency to the project, which is in his district.
In the short term, city and county leaders should take steps to get homeless people as many resources as they can as quickly as possible.
If you take one high-profile count of the region’s homeless at face value, you’d assume homelessness in the South Bay is dropping. But a closer look reveals many homeless families there are hidden out of sight, a reality that has real implications for some of the most vulnerable populations in the South Bay.
Communities with visibly large homeless populations sleeping on the streets tend to attract more money and resources to combat the problem. Because of the hidden nature of South Bay homelessness, there are far fewer resources there to help struggling residents and families.
Last school year, one-third of students in the San Ysidro School District were identified as homeless. In this short web documentary, Catalina Rios discusses her family’s struggle to find and afford stable housing. After living in a junkyard, Rios and her children now crowd into a tiny trailer.
San Ysidro’s demographics and its location on the border contribute to a unique set of housing woes. “I can’t get my green card without an address, I can’t work without a green card and I can’t afford an apartment without work,” said one resident whose struggle is familiar to many community members.
Schools in the South Bay have become a hub for homeless students and their families to find everything from a place to shower to help with school enrollment to assistance applying for public benefits.
When a 15-year-old was killed by a semi-truck in Otay Mesa in 2014, news reports focused on the fact that the teen was on her phone. No one asked why she was walking in an industrial area where few pedestrians ever go. The answer: She was walking home from school. Home was a junkyard.
The people who live on our streets deserve as much investment as those who prosper from tourism and conventions.