EL CAJON, Calif. – The City of El Cajon on Tuesday unanimously voted to create a sub-committee to assist in drafting regulatory policy for motels participating in the county’s homeless voucher program.
The county’s motel voucher program includes 18 motels around the county in which eight are in El Cajon, four in San Diego, two in Chula Vista, two in Escondido, one in Santee and one in Vista.
According to the county, all motels have voluntarily decided to participate in the county’s voucher program.
The city council also had to decide in closed session what legal response the city will take in regards to the attorney generals’ cease and desist letter regarding El Cajon limiting the amount of vouchers motels can take.
“In our estimation they are violating their conditional use permit, so we sent them a notice saying, ‘Hey, you have too many vouchers in the hotel rooms, once you are over a certain threshold, you violate your conditional use permit and there could be fines if you don’t fix that,’” El Cajon Mayor Bill Well said.
Wells says they rescinded the letters, but are now looking at what their legal options are.
“To be in compliance with the law, we did that, but we think 100 percent that we are in the right,” Wells said.
San Diego County Board of Supervisors’ Chair Nathan Fletcher also commented on the situation, saying that the county “took multiple actions to reduce homelessness; while the City Council in El Cajon took action that will only serve to increase homelessness.
“Taking a bipartisan approach, we added funding to a program that has already kept 440 families from being homeless; passed a rent subsidy program for working families and reaffirmed our commitment to work with cities on finding solutions to homelessness,” Fletcher said.
Wells says he will recommend the city to hire a law firm to see what legal actions El Cajon can take regarding this issue. No decisions have been made on whether the city will take legal action against the state or comply with the attorney generals’ letter.