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Homeless advocates frustrated over recent cleanups downtown

The cleanups included bikes, tents and other personal belongings being thrown away by the city.

SAN DIEGO — Homeless advocates are growing more frustrated with recent cleanups downtown. The issue is over how city workers are treating the homeless and their belongings.

"The city is just going through and throwing people's property away when they're not there,” said Michael McConnell, who advocates for people experiencing homelessness in San Diego.

The city posted 3-hour cleanup notices around downtown. 

McConnell captured video over the past week of the city throwing away people's tents and bikes.

"If you're homeless, that transportation is very important,” said McConnell. “There's a homeless service facility right there that people could have been inside of,"

He said ID's, important documents and medicine is sometimes tossed and some people are ticketed for not following the city's notice.

"Wheelchairs thrown away, we've had walkers thrown away and we are failing to recognize how many disabled and very, very sick and ill people there are out here on our streets,” said Amie Zamudio, the co-founder of Housing 4 the Homeless.

She works with homeless seniors, who are disabled or medically compromised, and believes there's a misconception that shelter space is easy to come by. 

She said there are often no open beds.

"A lot of folks have asked for rehab beds and harm reduction,” said Zamudio. “The beds are not available, but we are going to come give them a citation, take their belongings?”

She and McConnell want to see more aggressive action taken to help house the unsheltered.

"Most of all, what I want the city to do is to starting tackling this crisis with real solutions, so we don't even have to worry about this situation,” said McConnell.

More than 1,300 people are experiencing homelessness in downtown San Diego, according to the most recent unsheltered count. That number has nearly doubled from this time last year.

WATCH RELATED: El Cajon cleans up trash and debris from homeless encampment (April 2022)

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