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Chula Vista creates new Department of Housing, Homeless Services

The city says the department will focus on homeless outreach, affordable housing and rental assistance.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Chula Vista is committing more resources to the housing and homeless crisis. The city has created a new department focused on the unsheltered and local housing needs.

The Department of Housing and Homeless Services will focus on homeless outreach, affordable housing and rental assistance.

"We've been dealing with the homeless a lot," said Christopher Disney who works at La Bella Pizza Garden. "They've either been camping out on the patio or they camp out in the park across the street after hours and it's kind of sad because they don't have means to take care of themselves"

The director of the Housing and Homeless Department, Stacey Kurz, said the new department is working to tackle the issue.

"It's really elevating the housing issues we're experiencing throughout the region particularly for the unsheltered," she said.

But the idea has some advocates casting doubt.

"As an advocate for the unsheltered, we need to be supportive of anything that's new and can help communities move forward. We are a bit apprehensive that we're looking at the same group that's been working to address this already," said Rosie Vasquez, the founder of Community through Hope.

Community through Hope is a local organization in Chula Vista that helps the unsheltered get back to self proficiency. Vasquez pointed out several projects she hopes the new department will prioritized.

"Take a few steps back. We still don't have the 66 pallet shelter that's supposed to be up by January," she said. "We also need safe parking, we need an emergency shelter in Chula Vista, these are all step ones and step twos before we start jumping ahead."

She's hopeful the department will talk with organizations like hers who interact with the unsheltered on a daily basis.

The new city department is still recruiting staff but plans to employ 10 staff in total. 

WATCH RELATED: City of Chula Vista forces homeless people out of Harborside Park (Aug. 2022).

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