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El Cajon to hold meeting with motel owners about homeless vouchers

Mayor of El Cajon says county was invited to Friday meeting but decline.

SAN DIEGO — El Cajon’s mayor and the county are once again exchanging words over the homelessness and influx of people using vouchers to stay in El Cajon motels.

The police department in El Cajon Police said it has arrested a number of people using the hotel vouchers. 

Some had criminal histories or even felony arrest warrants.

"After they arrested a couple people, they went into their hotel rooms and found methamphetamines, scales, packaging to sell drugs so we're pretty sure the county is not vetting people before they're sending them to these programs," said Mayor Bill Wells.

Wells believes his city is being used as a dumping ground, but the county says that’s misinformation. He said he invited the county to a meeting with the hotel owners and police this Friday.

"The hotel owners really wanted the county to be there but the county said no they thought it'd be inappropriate to be involved with those meetings," said Mayor Wells. "In fact they didn't want to talk to our folks on the phone they just wanted our questions in writing."

CBS 8 reached out to the county about the arrests at the motels. 

Supervisor Joel Anderson sent the following statement: 

"I've asked County staff to investigate and I'm eager to learn all the details. Like El Cajon, our primary concern is community safety."  

San Diego County has 18 hotels involved in the voucher program and eight of those are in El Cajon. 

Wells said two motels in El Cajon are operating as homeless shelters illegally because 100% of their occupants were homeless. Several hotels received warning notices last week.

"Our intention is not to fine anybody. I think they though they were doing this for a government program and in good faith so I understand that," said Wells.

He says if a hotel has more than one-quarter of people using homeless vouchers then the hotel will be in violation. 

The fine is $100 a day and a fourth violation goes up to $100 a day. 

WATCH RELATED: El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, Chair Nathan Fletcher at odds over hotel vouchers for homeless (September 2022)

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