SAN DIEGO — A major cleanup is happening in downtown San Diego as city crews clear homeless encampments over safety concerns.
The cleanup began Monday and will continue for the next few days, according to a spokesperson from the City of San Diego. They say with high level of traffic expected from major events, they are hoping to avoid altercations.
It’s part of a major cleanup effort according to the city of San Diego over safety concerns. They say with major events like Padres Opening Day, the city wants to minimize altercations among those attending the events and those living on the streets.
“Special events should not be dictating homelessness policy,” homeless advocate Michael McConnell told FOX 5. “It’s certainly not good to have people living on the sidewalk but it’s insane to be spending tons of money — all those city workers, all those police officers that should be doing other things. It makes no sense to be spending al that money not solving homelessness.”
Homeless encampments are also becoming a key issue in Sacramento. Lawmakers are pushing a bill forward that would clear them away from parks, libraries, daycare centers and schools.
At the beginning of this year, San Diego reached record-breaking numbers with the homeless population hitting about 1,900 people, the majority focused on the East Village.
“What we need to realize is, housing is the base of the solution to homelessness,” McConnell added.
FOX 5 met Veronica Pinto Tuesday morning as she was pulling her cart with all her belongings. She is one of hundreds being displaced from the streets by city workers.
“I don’t have nowhere to go,” Pinto said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Senator Brian Jones tweeted the bill that would prohibit homeless encampments near schools and parks failed to pass the Senate Public Safety Committee. It will be reconsidered next month.