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San Diego City officials struggling with downtown homeless encampment enforcement

Last month, the Mayor’s office announced it was reinstating a previous policy that calls for all tents to be taken down during the day.

SAN DIEGO — The city of San Diego said it’s continuing with efforts to clear streets and sidewalks of homeless encampments.

Last month, Mayor Todd Gloria announced it was reinstating a previous policy that calls for all tents to be taken down during the day.

The city said it’s a constant battle to clear our streets and sidewalks because of the numerous encampments.

However, efforts to keep downtown clean haven’t exactly gone according to plan.

"It’s just an unmitigated disaster," said one San Diegan living downtown.

Downtown San Diego residents are among the most impacted by the homelessness crisis.

"I feel bad 'cause I see people out here that don’t cause any issues; I feel terrible. I want to help. but a lot of these people are zombies, the lights just aren’t there, they’re dangerous," said one man.

Many said the problem hasn’t improved even after the city implemented the no tent policy.

"It’s dangerous; you have people breaking in. I had someone come in the elevator."

Some say they have noticed a few changes.

"There aren’t as many tents when I walk my dog. I honestly thought it was just because they didn’t want many people around when we had the Padres games going on," said Tanzy Alfred, who lives downtown.

Alfred says unhoused individuals are still there but have moved farther away from where they used to be.

In a statement to CBS 8, the city said:

The “no tents during daylight hours” is based on voluntary compliance first and then, if individuals do not wish to comply, they may be subject to enforcement, which always comes with an offer of services and shelter.

It adds that San Diego police continue to make their rounds as much as possible but that the number of encampments and the time it takes to address each one adds to the challenge.

"I'm looking into moving away, and it’s because of these tropes; I just cannot stand looking outside and seeing people openly smoking and selling meth for 15 hours a day. We need to maintain some standards at least," said one resident.

"Removing the tents doesn’t alleviate any problems except that it’s not as much as an eye sore," added Alfred.

The city added that it’s working with other services agencies to provide additional shelters during the colder weather season.

 The program is generally operational from November through March. More information on the criteria for those shelters being opened can be found here

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