As street homelessness booms, city leaders and advocates are increasingly mulling where homeless San Diegans can legally go.
A City Council committee last week ordered a report on what it would take to establish safe parking and so-called care zones where homeless people could settle without fear of being ticketed or arrested simply for living on the street, as part of a broader look at potential short-term homelessness solutions. A spokesman for Mayor Kevin Faulconer said his office is already looking into possibilities.
A lawsuit filed earlier this month that called for the city to stop using a city code meant to target trash dumpsters to cite the homeless adds more fuel to the conversation.
The growing focus on where homeless people can settle is a reflection of some uncomfortable realities: Fewer homeless San Diegans are checking into shelters despite an increase in available shelter beds, and permanent housing is scarce. Meanwhile, police enforcement affecting homeless people has increased.
So now, even as new shelter proposals are floated, city leaders are considering other options.
“We need to be able to find bridge opportunities in some form to effectively provide services to them while getting people off of our streets,” said City Councilman Chris Ward, chair of the City Council’s Select Committee on Homelessness.
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Comment: “…He’s recommended the city look at parking lots where homeless people living in cars can park overnight,…”
Targeting homeless car owners is good idea for several reasons:
people with cars still have some resources, probably do not have drug or
alcohol problems – or they would have sold the car or lost their license.
They have a way to go to work – if work is available.
They have a way to go home if their work provides enough income. (i.e. low cost housing may not be where jobs are.
have a way to stay in communication vehicle charger for phone, tablet and
They can secure their belongings.
People with RVs may have decided that is the life for them – but nobody wants to sleep in a car the rest of their lives.
Suggest that homeless parking lots have communal restrooms and showers (to ease job reentry) and if possible physical job posting boards (also WiFi for Craigslist jobs connections etc) to help people get out of homelessness.
There may have to be some thought about adverse effects (i.e. numbered parking stickers with a location stay allowance (2 months? In one location).
The idea is that car owners are best able to escape homelessness– so they should be addressed first. Especially since the cost of building housing in San Diego is prohibitive (“Low” cost or not).
Could we use Qualcomm stadium not only for temporary housing, but build permanent affordable housing units for the homeless as well? I'd rather use that space for something that will impact thousands of people's lives in a profound way over supporting a sport's stadium.
Has anyone asked them?
Or, are all the answers so far just looking for a way to sweep them under a rug?
Do the answers you have so far, reflect their needs for proximity to food? Water? A place to walk to in reasonable time? Health care? A Library? Internet access? Showers? Soap? Laundry? Cloathing? Shoes? Personal grooming? Police if THEY need them?
Yes, this, exactly. I live, work and shop downtown. I’ve seen people go from sleeping on the sidewalk to getting a job and a place to live. I’ve also seen people who seem content to stay on the street and just want to be left alone. Help those that want it, and don’t harass the ones that aren’t causing any problems. Ticketing them is a waste of time and taxpayer money if there are no solutions to their problems.
Some cities give free apartments to homeless people that are dedicated to getting off the streets. I hope San Diego has looked into how effective those programs are. We don’t have a huge homeless problem, compared to some other cities, but we could definitely be doing more.
Thanks for keeping up the coverage Lisa. I take issue with one persistent inference;
That beds and programs are unavailable.
The problem seems to be that many of the urban campers do not want or need a “bed”, nor will they be able to take advantage of the available housing options, because they cannot or will not comply with the rules regarding both of these options.
What our urban camper advocates seem to want is a place, for those currently camping on sidewalks, to gather, that is not governed by the rule of law, and has no requirements that they must abide. Sort of a lawless wild wild west, lord of the flies, type community.
It is really time to de-bunk the concept that our urban
campers have not been offered help. They
have been, and they continue to be offered help, and they refuse. Drugs, drinking, the desire to keep their “stuff” and pets with them, and mental health issues, all are impediments to getting help.
Until we focus on that reality we will not get to the root of the
problem and our health crisis will