County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, right, hosted a forum at the Encinitas Library on Jan. 9. Courtesy photo
Community Commentary Opinion

Homeless parking lot is well intentioned, but wrong for city

After much consideration, and initial support of this Encinitas Homeless matter on Saxony Road, I can no longer remain silent. Despite my personal like of and past voting record for Mayor Blakespear, and despite her doubtless personal good intentions in this matter, the residue of this unilateral (except for Tony Krantz) city council mandate does not sit well. Making a residential neighborhood in Encinitas a magnet for San Diego County homeless, and arranged without a preponderance of public support, is not the kind of vetting that we expect from our elected officials. The unknown unintended ramifications of this likely neighborhood-changing action puts a part of our city at risk, over time, and that risk is not being acknowledged or even considered by city officials — and that is disturbing.

Encinitas has not been known in the past as a problematic homeless town (like, say, Oceanside or OB), but that would change over time as word spreads about the largesse of Encinitas. This effort is clearly well-intentioned but is wrongly-configured in a residential area. And it is not so simply defined as those for or against homelessness — that is a facile and sanctimonious oversimplification. No one is for homelessness! Let’s start with that premise, right there, neighbors.

And that is why I would like to submit to the city the idea for a program uniting willing homeowners with driveway or backyard availability, and homeless families currently sleeping in their cars. The same requirements (vetting, hours, et al) would apply, so that homeowners felt assuaged of worry, and the connecting entity could be either Encinitas City or Jewish Family Services. The families would be spread out over a citywide area, and not concentrated in a residential neighborhood, where they would then come to sleep each night and depart each morning. This will allow homeowners of Encinitas who would like to help ameliorate homelessness an opportunity to do just that. The details could be worked out, I’m sure, and the grant monies currently to be used by JFS could possibly be apportioned to those homeowners willing to lease space in this way. I’ve not an idea of how popular this program would be, in reality, but it’s an alternative, and a start at looking at this another way. City of Encinitas? Leichtag? What do you say?

Stephen Keyes

Encinitas

4 comments

Joseph January 17, 2020 at 1:27 pm

Perfect!!!! Well said! I’ve also had this same thought. I’m sure there are quite a few out there who have the space and maybe even a spare room they could use. We’ll see have this goes over…. I’m thinking less then 10% will volunteer for that program.

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Alec January 18, 2020 at 10:35 am

While the idea is nice- it, like the regional homeless parking lot proposed, does not address the homeless issue that really matters, ie: chronic homeless who are drug addicted, mentally ill, or unfit for society roaming our streets and neighborhoods at an alarmingly increasing rate. This is the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about because the solution is not easy- like a parking lot. I personally don’t care if people want to live in their cars, or need to for a transitional period. As a Resident of Quail Gardens, I don’t care if they want to use the Leichtag facility to do it. What bothers me is this will almost certainly cause a significant uptick in chronic homelessness in Encinitas as a whole because it sends a message that Encinitas is now homeless friendly. Allowing people to sleep in cars provides no solution to chronic homelessness.

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Lisa Shaffer January 18, 2020 at 3:09 pm

I have to disagree with the assertion that allowing 25 cars to park at Leichtag will attract more homeless people. We already have the wonderful Community Resource Center which provides services and runs a food pantry. I’m happy we are able to help at least 25 families who would otherwise be in their cars on the street without case management.

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Marcus January 22, 2020 at 2:10 am

30 years of uncontrolled illegal immigration and unpatriotic criminal business owners and corporations who hire only Hispanics are the reasons we’re experiencing this homeless crisis.
Forced deportations for all illegal aliens and their illegal children and prison time for every politician, business owner, NGO, charity and churches that have aided and abetted these criminals.
You don’t see any homeless Hispanics because the traitors known as business owners only employ Hispanic.

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