Former city councilman: Shelter plan won't work if homeless won' - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Former city councilman: Shelter plan won't work if homeless won't use them

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has announced a plan to temporarily house the homeless, but not everyone is on board. 

Critics say the proposed tent shelters aren't getting to the root of the problem. 

When Carl DeMaio served on the San Diego City Council, he claims to have been one of the first to discuss homelessness and how to fix what has long been a growing problem. 

"I think Faulconer and city councilmembers are simply doing a dog and pony show," said DeMaio. "The homeless individuals in San Diego don't want to go to a shelter because if they go, they have to be clean and sober. They don't want to be clean and sober. The problem is mental health and substance abuse challenges." 

On Monday, Mayor Faulconer announced plans to erect three tent shelters throughout the city by December. 

He said they will include beds, restrooms and showers, and are designed to transition homeless people into permanent housing. 

DeMaio suggests instead of putting money into new tents, utilizing the programs already in place.       

"The proper thing to do is forcing these individuals to take advantage of programs we have, go clean and sober or leave our community entirely," said DeMaio. 

In order for that to work, DeMaio says law enforcement needs to partner with the courts and be given the ability to arrest homeless people who don't comply. 

Aside from crimes such as loitering, drug use and public defecation, DeMaio says the recent Hepatitis A outbreak is reason enough to take people into custody. 

"The hep outbreak gives the mayor and council flexibility on enforcement and getting people into shelters," he said.  

DeMaio says the mayor has to first declare a public health emergency in order to gain that flexibility. 

As for the tents, DeMaio fears the plan will fail, noting they can only house a fraction of thousands currently living on the street. 

 "These tents will not have an impact," he said. "It will continue to get worse." 

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