Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the two arrested men used a hotel voucher program for parolees.

EL CAJON, Calif. — Leaders in El Cajon hosted the first of a series of town halls over homelessness concerns.

It comes following months of pushback over the current voucher program which places people without homes in motels.

But concerns are being raised after criminal activity was reported at several locations.

“It’s an example of the community not working for a section of the population and the community should and clearly wants to work for everyone, but boy it’s hard to figure out what works,” El Cajon resident Paula Fletcher said.

City leaders had residents fill out surveys and provide their feedback for tackling the homeless problem. They wrapped up the meeting with long lists of ideas.

Last month, an underage girl was allegedly sexually assaulted. The two men arrested by police were using a hotel voucher program for parolees.

“The two violent sexual predators, that was an anomaly,” homeless advocate Matthew Kearney said. “Yes, it was horrible. They need to be jailed, but there are safeguards that we can put in place. Safeguards fell through. That was unfortunate. We should focus on the women, the children, the families who have no place to go.”

City leaders informed residents about the homeless they have been able to help this year, but also pointed out in many cases, their hands are tied by law.

“What has happened in the last five years is there has been a concerted effort to decriminalize almost everything,” El Cajon Assistant City Manager Vince DiMaggio said.

Law enforcement officers say recent laws have limited their ability to reduce crime.

“It’s extremely difficult to actually get someone off the street and into an incarceration facility for a crime even though we view the crime as significant, it’s extremely difficult,” Captain Rob Ransweiler of El Cajon police said.

City leaders asked neighbors to share their ideas to help solve the problem together.

The next town hall is set for April 15 at Hillside Recreation Center.