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San Diego mayor responds to criticism of his handling of homeless crisis

"I signed up for this job, I wanted this job, I’m happy to have this job. And I accept the accountability that comes with it," said Mayor Todd Gloria.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria responded to more questions about the homeless crisis Thursday during his monthly media briefing.

"The frustration that people are expressing is understandable. I'm frustrated as well. But the difference is you can’t allow that frustration to lead to inaction," said Mayor Gloria. "You have to funnel that frustration toward progress."

This week, at the direction of the mayor, police began re-instating the policy of ordering people to remove their tents from downtown streets during daylight hours. The policy was used in 2017 during the Hepatitis A outbreak, but was put on hold during the pandemic.

Enforcement at public parks is a bit more complicated. Unlike downtown, enforcement falls under a separate municipal code.

"I believe we have the city attorney and council members looking at existing laws and seeing if they’re clear enough," said Mayor Gloria. "Sometimes there’s vagueness there that deserves clarifying. Other cities have done that, so there may be some work we can do there."

When asked why he thinks his administration seems to be getting more heat about this issue than previous administrations, he said it's just part of the job.

"Welcome to the job of being mayor. This job causes you to be held accountable for everything," he said. "I have a sign on my desk that says 'The buck stops here,' I get that. You're held accountable for things you did and things you didn’t do, things you have nothing to do with, things that are other people's problems."

"I signed up for this job, I wanted this job, I’m happy to have this job. And I accept the accountability that comes with it," he added.

Last week, former NBA star Bill Walton publicly blamed the mayor for the homeless crisis. CBS 8 asked Mayor Gloria to respond to that criticism.

"My office provided a response last week, I stand by those comments. I will simply draw people to what we’re doing. Some of those comments were suggesting nothing's going on, that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Let’s call it what it is it’s a lie," he said.

He said his administration has increased shelter capacity, it's also building more affordable housing.

Thursday Mayor Gloria announced a $25-$30 million grant from the state to open and run homeless shelters

According to the latest numbers from the Regional Task Force on Homelessness, more than 4000 people are living without shelter throughout the county, that includes nearly 2500 within the City of San Diego. It's a nearly 10 percent increase compared to the numbers in 2020.

WATCH RELATED: Basketball legend Bill Walton calls out San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria on homelessness, mayor fires back (Sept. 2022)

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