Supervisor Joel Anderson fires back at Mayor Wells, says he knew about housing homeless

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – In an internal memo to the Chief Administrative Officer, Helen Robbins-Meyer, Supervisor Joel Anderson, who represents East County communities of District 2, questioned if staff had looked into the possibility of establishing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the County and jurisdictions along the San Diego River, such as the San Diego River Park Foundation, and the Cities of San Diego and Santee.

He says the goal of this MOU would be to address homelessness along the San Diego River, and make sure the county was working together. Anderson wants County staff to build upon current collaborative efforts by partnering with local jurisdictions to assist those experiencing homelessness along the riverbed.

According to the San Diego River Park Foundation’s most recent homeless census, there are over 355 individuals experiencing homelessness along the riverbed with 43% of those individuals living in Supervisor Anderson’s district. There is also a record high number of 1,609 homeless in downtown San Diego alone.

RELATED STORY: San Diego County “secretly” using City of El Cajon motel rooms as homeless shelters

Wednesday, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells held a press conference announcing that San Diego County has been housing homeless people in El Cajon motels. Mayor Wells said the county was doing this secretly, and only found out due to increased amounts of calls reporting criminal activity.

“Not only did we notice an increase in crime and need for medical responses around some of these motels, our police officers started noticing new homeless individuals, along with drug dealers who prey on them, and open drug use,” noted City Manager Graham Mitchell.

Last weekend, the City of El Cajon conducted a study of the motels and found that of the 703 occupied rooms last Saturday night, 26 percent of them (or 185 rooms) were occupied with someone using a homeless motel voucher. According to Mitchell, most of the vouchers were issued by one of the County contractors—Equus and Public Consulting Group.

County Supervisor Joel Anderson fired back saying Wells was “misinformed,” before coming on KUSI’s Good Evening San Diego to explain that Wells did in fact know of the county’s activity, as it has been going on for a long time.

Supervisor Joel Anderson says he cares about the homeless, and even had “fix homelessness” on his campaign signs. He also pointed to his “hard work” cleaning up the criminal homeless camp on Magnolia Ave.

RELATED STORY: San Diego County finally begins process of removing criminal homeless camp

Supervisor Anderson emphasized the county is not “pushing people down the street, we are pushing people off the street.” He then congratulated the City of El Cajon for trying to fix the issue on their own, but says they will only be able to make progress with the help of San Diego County.

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