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Homeless advocates call out Chula Vista for not providing enough homeless resources

In response, the city of Chula Vista pointed to its homeless outreach team and a new bridge shelter opening in January.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — As the regional homeless crisis worsens, some homeless advocates question whether every city is doing its fair share to provide help.

Some are calling out Chula Vista, in particular, for cracking down on homeless encampments but not currently offering a local shelter for those residents to go to, placing the burden on nearby cities.

When Harborside Park in Chula Vista was initially shut down in August for 'health and safety reasons,' dozens of unsheltered people stayed in encampments there. 

Where those people have since relocated to is drawing fire among some homeless advocates.

"There are no resources in Chula Vista; there's no shelter," said Mandy Lien, a Chula Vista resident who has provided outreach to homeless people throughout South Bay and San Diego for the past three years.

"These people deserve dignity and treatment, and they need help," she told CBS 8. 

Lien said she believes Chula Vista is not doing its fair share to help those who are unsheltered there,  where 22 homeless people have died so far this year.

"Now they are showing that they are almost complete failures," she said, referring to Chula Vista city leaders, "because people have nowhere else to go."

With nowhere to go in Chula Vista, many unsheltered people are heading to nearby cities, according to Lien, particularly San Diego, where resources are already stretched thin.

"If I lived in San Diego,  as a taxpayer, as a citizen of San Diego, I would be upset at these other municipalities that aren't pitching in at their capability to help this problem," she added, "You can't fix this by just pushing them off to one area."

In response, the city of Chula Vista pointed to its homeless outreach team, which helps unsheltered Chula Vistans every week find housing and resources every day.

City leaders also approved a new Housing and Homeless Services department to address the homeless crisis.

Council member John McCann, who will likely be Chula Vista's new mayor, also pointed to a new 66-unit bridge shelter set to open in January, "which will have wrap-around services," McCann told CBS 8, "so if we have somebody who is unhoused in the city, they will have a place to go." 

In a statement, the city of San Diego said: "Homelessness is a regional crisis, and San Diego is doing more than ever to address it, with a comprehensive strategy of dramatically increased street outreach, shelter, and housing. Mayor Gloria calls on every city in the county to step up and do the same for their unhoused residents."

In the meantime, available beds in the city of San Diego are, for the time being, even more, limited than usual.

The homeless shelter operating at Golden Hall in downtown San Diego, now housing about 360 people, including families, will be temporarily closed starting Thursday to repair leaks and make other repairs.

A city spokesperson said the closure should last about two weeks while repairs are made.

In the meantime, those people now staying at Golden Hall will be housed at a local motel or the Balboa Park Activity Center.

WATCH RELATED: San Diego County leaders declaring homelessness a public health crisis

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