POINT LOMA (CBS 8) – Residents and business owners in San Diego’s beach areas are fired up about homelessness in their neighborhood.
In a town hall meeting in District 2, Interim Councilmember Ed Harris’ area, at the Point Loma Library Thursday night, homeless resources such as Connections Housing, San Diego County Department of Mental Health, Regional Task Force for Homeless and San Diego Housing Commission spoke about the homeless problem and what they are doing to resolve the issues in San Diego.
Tom Theisen from the Regional Task Force for Homelessness says 25 percent of the homeless population want to help themselves, “I tell you folks there are homeless people coming to San Diego everyday.”
Families living in Ocean Beach say they fear living in their own home.
“There is a lot of touchy feely about homeless people and how nice and sweet they are but you know what, what about the legality of it?” said Shelley Guerrero.
She says homeless men break into her home and sleep and litter in her yard, "I call the police like five times and they were like 'oh sorry, sorry there is really nothing we can do.’ Yet, I have had to replace five different gates and three different locks because I am in a war with these people that you are so touchy feely with."
A Point Loma resident stood up at the meeting and acknowledged the homeless problem but says he doesn’t feel threatened.
“It’s a free country they are allowed to live where they want and do what they want more or less,” said a man who only gave the name “Ed.”
Homeless people in San Diego are caught breaking the law. Embargo Grill owner in Point Loma says he found a homeless man drinking a handle of liquor on his patio at lunch time. When he arrives in the morning he finds homeless people are leaving a mess in the back parking lot.
“Two days ago there were condoms, there was feces on the floor, toilet paper was all over the parking lot,” said Hudi Eshel.
Families and business owners say they are done venting and done taking care of the homeless problem themselves and they want the city step up.
“They are solving the problem downtown but they are not solving the problem they are moving it to our neighborhood and it's sad,” said Eshel.
Councilmember Ed Harris is working to install a surveillance camera above the police station at Veterans Park in Ocean Beach.
A representative in Harris’ office was at the meeting and says the discussion from the community meeting will be shared with the councilmember. They are working on ways to improve the homeless problem by seeing what worked in downtown such as the red meters used to deposit coins rather than giving change to panhandlers. That money will go toward efforts to reduce homelessness.
Volunteers encourage people to allow the shelters to feed the homeless and not strangers. They also discourage groups from handing out food at the sea wall in Ocean Beach and Saratoga Park to prevent littering.