SAN DIEGO — For the first time, the candidates vying for disgraced District Four Supervisor Nathan Fletcher’s seat are battling it out in a forum debate.

The candidates focused their debate on addressing homelessness and the county’s foster care system.

However, one candidate did not show up as an empty seat where City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe was expected to be was placed between two other candidates also vying to be the next District Four county supervisor.

Two of the three candidates showed up were LGTBTQ advocate and Marine Corps veteran Janessa Goldbeck and small business owner Amy Reichert who founded “ReOpen San Diego” to reopen schools and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

They differed on how they would address homelessness.

“We really need more crisis stabilization centers. I want to read the county definition to you in case you don’t know what that is,” Reichert said. “They’re called CSUs and they provide emergency mental health assessments and services in therapeutic settings for individuals having a psychiatric emergency.”

Goldbeck advocated for tapping into the county’s reserves to fund behavioral and mental health workers. 

“Today with a bipartisan board, guess what the reserves number is? $2.4 billion dollars, it hasn’t changed,” Goldbeck said. “There’s over $680 million in flexible funding there, so don’t tell me we don’t have the funds to support the people on the frontlines of this crisis.”

They also differed on supporting a guaranteed income pilot program for foster youth.

“Regarding guaranteed income for foster youth, I would much rather see their housing get stabilized or some kind of a GED if they need a GED or some kind of trade school or even college scholarships,” Reichert said. 

“We have a youth homelessness crisis in San Diego County, so I think beyond investing in a pilot program, Shane, we need to declare youth homelessness a crisis, an emergency and get to work with the resources that we have that we’ll bring to the table,” Goldbeck said.

FOX 5 reached out to Councilmember Montgomery Steppe’s office and staff multiple times and are waiting to hear back.

The special election is expected to take place Aug. 15.