Spring Valley residents continue to deal with homeless camp at Lamar Park
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Until recently, the homeless crisis in Spring Valley had not gotten a lot of attention. It’s outside the San Diego city limits and inside the unincorporated areas of San Diego County. As of today, it’s getting newfound attention.
“As the local representative in this area, I am very concerned. Those people need help, they need to get out of the park. But the U.S. Supreme Court has tied our hands. It’s no longer a crime to sleep on the sidewalk, unless we have a bed to offer them,” said County Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
As a result of the Supreme Court ruling, the sheriff can not arrest them, unless they are breaking the law in some way, drug use, stolen property and things of that nature. But arresting them is not the goal. The goal is helping them get off the street and into a normal life.
“We need temporary housing. We’ve been looking for a piece of land, either from a church group of private land owner, to lease and establish temporary shelters. I’m putting out the call to any land owner in Spring Valley, we need a location for a temporary shelter,” said Jacob.
Until that day comes, the county is re-energizing their homeless outreach efforts. Teams of people who walk the parks and offer help to those who accept it.
“We can’t force them to leave the park. We offer them mental health and drug counseling and even housing vouchers. But we can’t reach out to them, unless they reach back,” said Jacob.
A lot of people we spoke with are willing and able to take the help. Others are perfectly happy to live on the streets. Heavy drug use is always an overriding factor.
The “City of San Diego” has put up three separate shelters in three parts of downtown. As a result, nearly 800-people are no longer living on the street. Also, the police can enforce the laws of vagrancy and loitering and encroaching. The people who take advantage of the shelter have a second chance.
County supervisors are hoping to create a similar situation, if they can find the land. Money is not an issue. The County has the money and now the incentive to get moving.