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Efforts to help downtown homeless ahead of Padres home opener

CBS 8 is working for you to find out what is being done to help downtown’s homeless population.

SAN DIEGO — Baseball season is back with the Padres home opener at Petco Park next Thursday. Besides excited fans, the area near the stadium is where you’ll see San Diego’s homeless crisis firsthand. 

CBS 8 is working for you to find out what is being done to help downtown’s homeless population.  

The Downtown San Diego Partnership’s CEO Betsy Brennan said the city and county are continuing efforts to increase mental and behavioral health resources.

“On behalf of the county we have mobile crisis response units that are downtown this week and will be focused on downtown next week,” said Brennan.

Melody Gourgerschain, who lives across from the stadium, said she sees more enforcement during baseball season. 

"When the park is usually open, we have more people patrolling, there's more check-ins usually,” said Gourgerschain. 

Resident Natalie Gibbons said she’s not necessarily noticing fewer homeless people but just seeing fewer near the stadium. 

"I wouldn't say really close to the park but more to the east a little bit is where it seems they're in tents,” said Gibbons.  

Just a few blocks down you will find lines of tents. The number of homeless people downtown has doubled over the past year with the downtown partnership counting 1,384 people in March 2022 compared to 722 in March 2021.  

A "Safe Village" program, an alternative to traditional shelters, is also in the works.

“We’ve hired lived-experience advisors which is made up of folks that maybe were formerly homeless that have a good perspective on these issues,” Brennan said. 

She said they hope to submit a formal proposal for the "Safe Village" program in the next few weeks.

WATCH RELATED: DA: Homeless more likely to be crime victims and perpetrators in San Diego County (March 2022)

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