Vista residents, leaders hold workshop to tackle homelessness

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VISTA, Calif. — Residents and leaders working together to tackle the homelessness issue in Vista held a workshop Monday night to help create “Vista’s Homeless Master Plan.”

“North County inland has a larger problem but in Vista, we do have a lot of unsheltered individuals and not a lot of shelter,” attendee Holly Herring said.

Herring said she is passionate about the issue because she was once homeless. She said she currently works for two homeless shelters and is working to open her own non-profit to help those in need.

“I am with these people all day and I see that everybody thinks that they have a solution but there’s no one solution,” Herring said.

Vista city council member Amanda Rigby said the city has made it a top priority to figure out the causes of homelessness and to find solutions.

“We have very, very few beds and shelters for the homeless population, for homeless people, and hardly any for homeless men and that’s a large population as well. So that is one area that is severely lacking,” Rigby said.

Newly released data shows there are nearly 300 homeless people living in Vista right now, down from nearly 500 last year.

Rigby said she feels the number is way off because a lot of homeless live near creak beds where it is too dangerous for volunteers to go to.

“There was a very large portion of our homeless population in Vista that was not counted. They weren’t identified. So I think the number they have here is low compared to what I think the actuality is and I hate to say that,” Rigby said.

Rigby said the master plan is expected to be discussed by the council in June.

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