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SAN DIEGO — The homeless will soon have to clear out of an encampment causing a lot of safety problems near El Cajon.

Neighbors in El Cajon have been raising their concerns over the encampment on Magnolia Avenue for about a year. Now, the county says those who live there will have to leave by Thursday morning after putting up notices near the location. 

“We’ve been working on this for quite a while and trying to get this encampment dealt with because it’s caused a lot of problems for the people of El Cajon and even though it’s on the county side, a lot of crime has filtered into El Cajon,” El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells said.

The encampment has caused an uproar in the El Cajon community, with neighbors voicing concerns over criminal activity.

“There’s been a couple of sexual assaults, at least one that has been pled out to guilty,” Wells said. “There’s been trafficking that’s been happening here. There’s been drug abuse, a lot of drug selling here. There’s been violence here. A lot of theft.”

Several arrests have been made at the encampment, according to the sheriff’s department.

California Department of Transportation says it will be doing construction to make repairs to the sidewalk and street. But the homeless say they have nowhere to go.

“I need them to communicate clearly on as far as where they want us at, where we can be at, because at this point they might as well just come out and say it is illegal to be homeless,” said one homeless man who wouldn’t give his name.

The latest count shows homelessness grew in San Diego County by 10% since in 2020. In El Cajon, 71 homeless people accepted housing vouchers and help from the county while 15 refused.

“The people at that point are making a choice to be homeless mostly because they are so involved in drug and alcohol abuse. They don’t want to get off the streets. They don’t want to get clean. They don’t want to go through a program,” Wells said.

The County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote Tuesday to support the Governor’s CARE Court proposal that could force some homeless into treatment. They also plan to vote on more funding to address homelessness.