July 25, 2014 (Santee)--Santee’s City Council has voted to approve $2,000 as its fair share to assist the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless.
The vote was 3-1, over the objection of Santee Mayor Randy Voepel. Councilman John Ryan was not present.
The Task Force says that cuts in funds from the federal government and some local cities have left the group cash-strapped to help the homeless, UT San Diego reports.
According to the Task Force’s annual count of homeless people countywide in January, Santee has 40 homeless people, about the same as La Mesa, with 37, and Lemon Grove, with 34. El Cajon has over ten times as many –513 homeless people, by far the highest rate of homelessness in our County. Other areas with significant homeless populations are Lakeside with 73 and Spring Valley with 81. Rural areas such as Alpine, Crest and Jamul, by contrast, have zero homeless, perhaps in part because these areas lack mass transit or services to help homeless people.
Mayor Voepel has been at odds with the Task Force in the past, questionings its numbers and even participating in a recent homeless count. He claims the Task Force has not done anything to help the city with its homeless problems.
But it was Councilman Jack Dale who persuaded his other colleagues on the Council to support the nominal funding request to aid the region’s people who have no place to live. Giving $2,000 to the Task Force could help the region qualify for millions of dollars in federal funding to help homeless people across our region.
“If all it takes is two grand,” Councilman Dale concluded, “I think we should do it.”