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Encinitas Homeless
A man holds a sign asking for help at the intersection of Leucadia Avenue and North Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas. Photo by Dustin Jones
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Encinitas council adopts contentious Homeless Action Plan

ENCINITAS — After hearing from a range of public opinions, the Encinitas City Council took its first step on the path to mitigating homelessness last week by adopting its long-awaited yet controversial Homeless Action Plan.

The council unanimously voted in favor of the plan, which would provide housing and healthcare assistance to vulnerable residents, and agreed to bring on a housing manager to help coordinate and manage homeless services in Encinitas.

A Point-in-Time Count conducted in January 2020 reported a total of 80 homeless people living within city boundaries, 58% of whom live without shelter on the streets, beaches, parks canyons and in vehicles. These numbers include the neighboring areas of Solana Beach and Del Mar.

Roughly half of the homeless population are transition-aged youths between 18 and 24.

The city’s homeless population makes up about 1% of the county’s estimated 7,600 people without permanent housing. Council members are concerned those numbers will grow when the state lifts its eviction moratorium, which is currently set to expire at the end of June.

But the issues surrounding the city’s homeless population are a highly contentious issue, which was apparent in several written remarks and during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“If you think a ‘supportive’ plan will end the homeless problem you do not understand human nature, nor have you studied what happened in San Francisco,” wrote Encinitas resident Dana Crowell. “Supporting and offering free services will ATTRACT more homeless to Encinitas, not SOLVE the homeless problem. These actions will GUARANTEE a growth in homeless from outlying areas and states.”

Longtime resident Vicki Campbell said the homeless population has become more violent. Campbell believes the adoption of the homeless action plan would result in an increase in crime, public intoxication and defecation because these services would attract more homeless people.

homeless Encinitas
There are an estimated 80 homeless persons between Leucadia and Solana Beach, over half of which live outdoors in canyons, parks and near the beaches. Photo by Dustin Jones

Another resident suggested the city do nothing and that ignoring the problem was a perfectly viable option.

Residents on the other side of the fence argued the city has a responsibility to care for people who struggle to care for themselves.

“Those of us who are fortunate enough to have shelter and everything that precedes and goes with that have a moral responsibility to ensure people have consistent access to life’s basics,” said Teresa Baggot Roberts. “There’s no doubt that it benefits the entire community when all are cared for.”

Dan Vaughn shared a story about a homeless family he was able to help through the Interfaith Shelter Network to remind others that homelessness is an incredibly complex issue. A family of five needed help after the parents racked up hospital bills trying to save their daughter who was battling Leukemia.

“They were grieving, they were homeless and they were scared,” Vaughn said. “Eventually they were able to save up enough money to get back into long-term housing and on with their lives. We needed to give them a hand to get through that difficult time.”

The council unanimously voted to support the homeless action plan and to hire a housing manager, but the council was divided along with the issue.

Despite voting in favor of the plan, Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz said the issue shouldn’t be a top priority, and that if the city were to hire a housing manager, homelessness should not be the primary initiative for the position.

“Some of what we’re talking about in this plan we cannot do… the prob of homelessness knows no borders,” Kranz said. “We can come up with the greatest plan in the world, but I think that without the cooperation of these other government agencies we are never going to be able to successfully complete the mission.”

4 comments

Michael McCurdy April 21, 2021 at 10:57 am

The first year of that parking lot how much of that $250,000 was padded onto their own salary’s. This whole thing stinks terribly of corruption and all the nonprofit organizations in bed with them you’re disgusting you want to be a non-profit why don’t you do it we’re strictly voluntary no pay and let’s see where you guys are at then? Straight laced crooks do with a smile and grace as the spit rolls down Encinitas face. Politicians and developers could not help themselves from licking their chops if you guys don’t know we’re being repeatedly exploited, lied to, and misinformed by politicians, media, and even
law enforcement. We have pretty much been effectively stripped of our ownership of our town in the proof is when we’ve tried to changeanything that goes against them having a larger budget it’s been pretty much just squashed or conveniently done without our knowledge. If we get together and we get these a holes out of office we can at least effectively stop “progression” that’s certainly going to happen if something isn’t done.

Cecilia March 3, 2021 at 6:03 pm

No budget. No accountability, yet again. Mayor Blakespear decided unilaterally that the contentious Homeless Parking Lot will need a new home come May. Expect her to decide which neighborhood it ends up in too. Maybe yours next time.

This is the Mayor who promised to report quarterly earnings on the Lot in order to determine if it made sense to keep it going. For the minimal $250k windfall, of course it does!

In 2020 Mayor Blakespear arbitrarily dismissed needing the reporting results, so how does anyone know how many people it’s actually helping?

With her lack of accountability for a simple 25 car parking plan, how can we trust the outcome of this extensive 3 year plan which includes permanent and temporary housing and walk in clinics. The Mayor boldly mentioned there could now be a budget to buy a hotel.

A hotel? I thought the homeless population was decreasing, according to the PIT count, these last 3 years.

concerned March 3, 2021 at 12:29 am

The homeless action plan was written by CA Senator Toni Atkins (San Diego) wife, Jennifer LeSar. The council paid $70,000 for the plan. Without any financial analysis of what it will cost the taxpayers, the council ignored sound principles of governing and approved this plan.

John Eldon April 3, 2021 at 5:04 am

Concur. They need to listen to Oceanside Councilman Chris Rodriguez, who understands the problem and has suggested genuine solutions.

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