CHULA VISTA, Calif. — The City of Chula Vista held a workshop discussing unsheltered and unhoused people in the South Bay Thursday.

The workshop’s main goal was to provide an update on the current unsheltered situation, as well as discuss policies and plans to address the issue and hear feedback from the community.

“It’s a top issue in the City of of Chula Vista as well as regionally in the county,” Chula Vista Mayor John McCann said.

The city presented findings from interviews completed in September, where they interviewed 256 homeless people in Chula Vista. They found a majority of the people they talked with were not originally from Chula Vista.

Of those people city staff interviewed, 47% of them had been without a home for more than three years.

The city said since February, partners and organizations have provided housing to 162 people/households in Chula Vista. But, 536 people they contacted declined any help or services at all.

In September, a protest was held outside Chula Vista City Hall against a potential encampment ban. Several ideas were discussed during the meeting, including a safe parking site. 

“We found that in some neighborhoods some people are living in their cars, on the streets or in peoples lawns,” McCann said.

Also in September, residents protested for the city to reopen Harborside Park, which had been closed after it was overrun by homeless. This is an issue that was brought up during Thursday’s meeting.

Several people spoke out during public comment, many not pleased with the current state of the city’s response.

The city said they plan to take feedback from Thursday’s meeting and further develop their response. They also plan to establish a homeless task force.