homeless San Diego

EL CAJON CITY MANAGER CHALLENGES OTHER EAST COUNTY CITIES AND COUNTY TO SERVE HOMELESS INDIVIDUALS

Graham Mitchell Provides Year End Status Report of city’s efforts  

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Complete Video: https://youtu.be/LybwvTl7E8Y

Powerpoint presentation: Homeless Program Update (Jan 14, 2020).pdf

January 27, 2020 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon City Manager Graham Mitchell has challenged other East County cities and the County of San Diego to address the current crisis level of homeless individuals, as El Cajon has during the past year.

In an overview of its efforts at the first council session for the year, Mitchell told councilmembers that the city has spent $640,000 on programs directed to people who have made El Cajon streets their home. While the city will be spending that much again this year, Mitchell challenged the smaller cities around El Cajon (Santee, La Mesa, and Lemon Grove) to make similar efforts.

“We are doing far more than what our neighbors have been doing,” Mitchell said.

SUPREME COURT LETS STAND RULING THAT ALLOWS HOMELESS TO SLEEP IN PARKS AND ON SIDEWALKS IF THERE IS NO LOCAL SHELTER SPACE

By Miriam Raftery

January 2, 2020 (Washington D.C.) –The U.S. Supreme Court declined last month to hear an appeal of a ruling by the 9th Circuit U.S. District Court of Appeals, which held that cities and counties cannot arrest homeless people for sleeping in outdoor public spaces if a jurisdiction has failed to provide space in shelters.

San Diego County and dozens of other local governments had joined together to argue that the case should be overturned, arguing that the decision limits cities’ abilities to maintain public health and safety. In San Diego, a 2017 hepatitis-A outbreak was tied to homelessness.

But the 9th circuit held that a city ordinance banning camping in public places by the homeless “violates the 8th Amendment insofar as it imposes criminal sanctions against homeless individuals for sleeping outdoors on public property, when no alternative is available to them.”

San Diego had more than 8,100 people homeless countywide as of a January 1, 2019 count, but 27,850 people used homeless services countywide last year, Voice of San Diego reports. California, which has one of the best year-round climates, is home to around half of the nation’s homeless population.

HOMELESS SAN DIEGANS FILE CLASS ACTION SUIT AGAINST CITY OF SAN DIEGO

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 18, 2017 (San Diego) – Ten homeless San Diegans have filed a class action against the city of San Diego, challenging citations targeting the homeless as unconstitutional.

Homelessness in the city spiked 10% over the past year, according to the January 2017 Point in Time homeless count. Most of those—5,612—were unsheltered. There are not enough beds and local shelters have long waits. San Diego is also the fourth least affordable city in the nation for housing, making the situation even more bleak for homeless people here.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: ESTELA DE LOS RIOS SPEAKS OUT ON HOMELESSNESS IN SAN DIEGO REGION

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Hear our interview, originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM radio in January,  by clicking the audio link, and scroll down for highlights of how Esetela de los Rios believes  our region’s homeless problems could and should be solved .

February 18, 2017 (San Diego)—Estela de los Rios with CSA, a fair housing and human rights organization in El Cajon since 1969, is calling for  a change in how the homeless are treated in the city of San Diego and across San Diego County.  San Diego now has the fourth highest number of homeless people in the nation according to the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency statistics.  Yet instead of providing meaningful help to homeless people, San Diego has often resorted to criminalizing homelessness—passing out citations for sleeping in public places and having police seize tents and sleeping bags even amid cold winter storms.

Homeless has affected every city in San Diego County,  including East County cities of El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Santee, as well as unincorporated areas of the County. As San Diego cracks down on homelessness, more homeless people have resorted to camping along river banks,  in parks and on the streets of communities in East County, where homelessness is a problem for every city.

Audio: 

Estela de los Rios on homelessness

DISABLED WOMAN COULD BE HOMELESS FRIDAY

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 29, 2013 (Lakeside) – Clad in pajamas, Karen Goodman broke down in tears as she told me her story  today. 

We met with her at the request of Walter Choate, an advocate for the homeless who told us that without immediate help, this bedridden woman who relies on a caregiver to survive could be homeless by Friday--and lose all of her belongings as well.

HOMELESS WOMAN IN CRITICAL CONDITION AFTER FIRE BURNS HOMELESS CAMP, MOBILE HOMES AND VEHICLES IN LAKESIDE

 

 

Ordeal shines spotlight on East County’s failure to offer shelter for the homeless

“We are too late. We the community of East County have let our homeless vets down again.”  --a reader's post on Fox News story about the fire

 

By Nadin Abbott and Miriam Raftery; photos by Billy Ortiz and Nadin Abbott

May 12, 2013 (Lakeside) – It was a grim Mother’s Day for families displaced by a fire that ravaged mobile homes in Lakeside today, and for a homeless woman veteran who is hospitalized with serious burns.

SWEEPS OF HOMELESS CAMPS IN RANCHO SAN DIEGO

 
 

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 31, 2010 (Rancho San Diego) – San Diego Sheriff deputies along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials conducted sweeps of homeless camps in wooded areas of Rancho San Diego in the grey light of early morning.

 

East County Magazine accompanied officers on the first sweep, behind Savanna Grill. More sweeps were held near Cuyamaca College, the YMCA, Target, and the old Steele Canyon bridge off Highway 94. No homeless people were present or arrested, though many left behind trash and/or treasures that could not be toted away in a backpack or shopping cart. Makeshift tents, lean-tos and mattresses were found, along with more poignant items: a large stuffed monkey, a cracked mirror with ornate frame, a pushcart, cooking utensils, nail polish, and a chipped china pitcher.

 

All lay forgotten in the mud, symbols of shattered lives and broken dreams.

HOMELESS IN EAST COUNTY: ONE WOMAN’S STORY

This is the first in a series of interviews profiling people who are homeless in East County. If you know of a homeless person willing to be interviewed, please contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org
 

By Miriam Raftery

January 28, 2010 (El Cajon) – “I’m trying to get off the street,” says Dawn Marie (last name withheld), who has been homeless for three months and is currently sleeping in an abandoned building in El Cajon. “I’ve been to college, but I can’t get a job because I have no experience, and you can’t get experience if nobody will hire you.”

Complicating matters, Dawn Marie suffers from a genetic medical condition known as neurofibromatosis. “I get fibrous tumors wherever I have a nerve,” she said, rolling up a sleeve to reveal bumps on her arms. She also wears a brace on her knee, which  had previous surgery for a sciatic nerve tumor. She  needs more surgery, but has no insurance.  Waits for medical care through County Medical Services are long and coverage is limited.

FORUM REVEALS PLIGHT OF IMMIGRANTS FACING HOMELESSNESS IN REGION

 

By John Falchi



November 22, 2009 (San Diego) -- The Center for Social Advocacy (CSA), an El Cajon-based organization,  held its “Homeless in Our Community, Homeless at Our Border” awareness event at the San Diego Woman’s Club on November 6th. The program focused on a long-overlooked and growing epidemic of homelessness prevalent in the County, also recounting the haunting stories of real people facing desperate situations.