North Park residents concerned about homelessness - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

North Park residents concerned about homelessness

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Homelessness is a growing problem in many San Diego communities, including North Park. 

Community leaders, city officials and local police gathered Wednesday to discuss the issue and what can be done to help get people off the streets. Edwin Lohr, the president of the North Park Community Association, added that the forum was also held to educate the community.

"It's a bigger issue than I think it is. It's not just seeing people on the street. There is a root cause for this," said Joe Garcia, a North Park resident. 

“I don't know the solution, but I know one thing that something needs to be done about it,” added City Heights resident, Gail Jennings.

The owner of Cardamom Cafe & Bakery also is aware of the homeless problem and spoke out Wednesday night.

"We live here, but by the grace of God, I would be on the streets to be honest with you. It's not a far reach from life and we need to care about people," said Joanne Sherif. Her bakery is located on 30th Street and Upas Street across from Jack in the Box where several homeless people congregate.

Speaker of the California State Assembly and a member representing the 78th District Toni Atkins spoke Wednesday about the homeless statistics in California, explaining that San Diego had the fifth highest homeless population in the nation.

"I know it's a problem in the community and I know it can be difficult," she said. 

Former interim Mayor of San Diego and Councilmember Todd Gloria advised residents to donate - not money or food to the homeless - but to the resources that offer services to rehabilitate the homeless community.

One project cited was the Red Meters in downtown San Diego. This week it was reported that the Red Meters generated $10,000 since they were installed four years ago. The money helps the homeless reunite with their families. 

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