Oceanside residents address homeless problem at town hall

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OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- A town hall meeting in Oceanside addressed homelessness, among other topics, Monday night.

One of the speakers included a woman who revealed she spent more than 20 years on the streets before turning her life around. Attendees cheered her story and discussed action that can be taken to help more people like her.

City councilmember Christopher Rodriguez says the issue of homelessness is the No. 1 email and phone call he gets from residents and believes a key way to address the problem is to address drug addiction.

“We’re not dealing with a homelessness crisis, we’re dealing with an addiction crisis," said Rodriguez. "Right now we have an addiction epidemic.”

While residents agreed with his assessment that addiction should be addressed, many wanted to make sure all underlying issues of homelessness are taken into account.

“The one-model-fits-all is just not realistic," said Beatriz Palmer, who works with Operation Hope North County. "I know they talked about mental health and drug addiction but that’s not true for every family that is experiencing homelessness.”

Palmer hopes to see more funding for a wider array of programs to tackle the various causes of homelessness.

“I want our city folks to know that we need to advocate for everyone equitably," Palmer said. "I tend to see some of the funding going to the same organizations over and over and we’re being forgotten. And it’s not about me, it’s about the families that need a place to sleep at night, especially the children.”

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