VISTA, Calif — The Vista City Council is looking to possibly implement Safe Parking and Safe Camping for unhoused individuals to go when they’re in need of a place to sleep. 

Council members on Tuesday voted 4-1 to direct city staff to look deeper into the idea and come up with recommendations and possible locations. 

During public comment, speakers were in favor of the idea.

However, Vista Mayor Judy Ritter was in disagreement. She argued the city is already looking to expand homeless resources and neighbors of car camp lots usually don’t support it.
 
“You’re already looking at putting a homeless shelter, now you’re looking at a homeless shelter, safe camping and safe parking,” Ritter said. “I don’t know if you’re trying to make Vista the homeless capital of North County or what, but I would not be in support of this.”

“It is very sad to hear that by creating interventions that people need, that it’s suddenly going to make this a homeless capital, that’s heartbreaking,” Council member Corinna Contreras said.

The mayor of Encinitas, Catherine S. Blakespear, called into the meeting to share how the Encinitas Safe Parking Program is going. 

“Statistically, more than 50% are seniors, so these are people who, you know, they have fallen on financially hard times and they need some assistance, so the social workers come to them and help them get back on their feet,” Blakespear said. 

The Encinitas City Council recently approved a new location for its safe parking program run by Jewish Family Services. It’s a move that’s drawn criticism from residents, though some applaud the program.