EL CAJON, Calif. — The El Cajon Police Department is raising concerns over the hotel vouchers being given to homeless in the city.
They say several of the people using the vouchers have extensive criminal records and some are fugitives.
El Cajon police say they found four people using the motel vouchers with extensive criminal histories and felony warrants. The police chief called it “disturbing.”
“What is the county doing to vet the people they are sending into our community?” says El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells.
Wells says the police department found multiple criminals using the County of San Diego’s motel voucher program.
“They found I think six different people that had outstanding warrants, outstanding felony warrants,” Wells told FOX 5. “They went into one of the hotel rooms and found a whole drug sales outfit.”
They arrested individuals with felony warrants for drug sales, child endangerment, DUI and firearms-related offenses.
But a county spokesperson said the motel voucher program is a low-barrier program and anyone engaging in illegal activity is immediately exited from the program.
“If you’re getting this voucher because you need it and this will help you get on your feet and move forward, I think that you should be allowed to utilize that opportunity as long as you’re being respectful,” resident Amanda Crespo told FOX 5.
The City of El Cajon issued notices to motels that they would face fines if they allow vouchers to make up more than 15% of their occupancy.
“Can some level-headed adults get in a room and figure this out, work together, the county and the City of El Cajon? I sure would hope so because that’s a lot of people utilizing this program that gets them off the street so let’s not tear it down because there are some issues with it,” homeless advocate Michael McConnell told FOX 5.
City officials plan to meet with the motels Friday. The mayor will present a new ordinance to the El Cajon City Council next Tuesday to reduce the amount of motel occupancy that can be filled with vouchers.