East County residents question plans to offer services for homeless

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RANCHO SAN DIEGO, Calif. — With roughly 8,000 people experiencing homelessness in the area, several spots in unincorporated parts of East County are being sought by San Diego County where shelters, homes and supportive services could be provided for the homeless.

The vacant park-and-ride lot along Avocado Boulevard in Rancho San Diego has been closed for some time, which the county is considering using for safe overnight parking.

“For the safe parking, would there be restrooms? Would there be showers? They call it safe parking, but for the homeless and the community, will it really be safe?” asked Anne Krueger, President of the Grossmont-Mt. Helix Improvement Association.

Krueger says after they found out about the proposal, they urged the County Office of Homeless Solutions to hold a webinar with the community about what decisions could come down the line.

“We set up this webinar because we wanted to get the community a chance to give their input,” Krueger said. “We have a lot of compassion for the homeless and we appreciate the county is trying to find solutions. But many people are feeling this is not a good place to put it.”

The parking lot is right next to a shopping center and even closer to a daycare-preschool facility.

“You do see homeless activity in the open space right there,” a Mt. Helix resident said. “I’m not certain putting a homeless facility next to a nursery is the best idea. Clearly, something needs to be done to help these people.”

San Diego County was considering using the parking lot for shelter or sleeping cabins, but it now says the site is not suitable for those services, adding the evaluation process for this site and others is ongoing and no decisions are imminent.

The webinar hosted by the county is scheduled for Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Click here for more about the county’s efforts on homeless solutions.

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