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Dozens helped at East County Homeless Resource Fair

Help came to those who are homeless in the East County. After weeks of a growing encampment in unincorporated El Cajon, several county agencies teamed up to assist.

EL CAJON, Calif. — In direct response to growing homeless encampments in unincorporated El Cajon, local leaders put together an East County Homeless Resource Fair Saturday to serve as a one stop shop for those unsheltered to get the help that they need.

"We've had a steady flow since this morning of people coming through getting the help that they need,” said San Diego County Supervisor Joel Anderson.

Taking advantage of each booth and tent set up outside the East County Transitional Living Center on East Main Street in El Cajon, Celina Marquez says it was helpful.

"I am getting my life in order,” Marquez said.

Marquez says she was homeless until the Christian Fellowship of El Cajon offered her a place to stay. Now, the Center for Employment Opportunities is helping her.

"I worked out a couple of things for jobs, you know because I do want to be employed,” Marquez said.

Just this week county clean-up crews picked up trash near a growing homeless encampment along North Magnolia Ave. near the Greenfield Drive bridge, where dozens of tents line the streets, and nearby businesses have said they're fed up with the issue.

"They have every right to be angry, and I agree with them, I would be furious, but we have to let the process work. right, we can't go in there and arrest all these folks no matter how angry those business folks are,” said San Diego County Supervisor Joel Anderson.

The encampment falls in Anderson's District 2. He teamed with multiple local agencies, including the San Diego County Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities and the Live Well Mobile Office to put on the East County Homeless Resource Fair, where hygiene kits and water were handed out.

"When we have services like this set up, we can go there and offer them services, give them hotel vouchers, get them off the streets and put their lives back on track,” Anderson said.

Inside one room, the D.A.'s Office and the DMV helped more than 60 people.

"This is our pop-up homeless court, so we have representatives from The city attorney’s office, the district attorney’s office and the public defender’s office to clear any sort of minor infractions that may be prohibiting folks from getting their ID card,” said Grace Liu, Director of prevention and intervention programs for the district attorney's office.

Getting past the typical legal roadblocks, experts in their field helped those in need for free.

“If you can imagine a person having to go to each one of these offices to get every single thing cleared to get their ID card, which they need to get maybe food stamps or CalFresh or medical services,” Liu said.

Much needed help that Celina Marquez says she grateful for.

“I was able to talk to the child support people, and they are going to lift my suspension off my license,” Marquez said.

For those who missed the resource fair, the East County Transitional Living Center said its doors are always open to provide help. Supervisor Anderson also said to reach out to his office for services. The D.A.’s office said it plans to offer similar pop-up legal services for those in need in North San Diego County.

WATCH RELATED: Homeless encampment grows along Magnolia Avenue (March 2022).

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