'Tent city' between busy San Diego freeway connection returns

Caltrans, CHP plan to keep area clean, safe

SAN DIEGO - Two days after Caltrans asked a group of people to end their stay near a local freeway, 10News learned many have come back.

"It is illegal," said Caltrans representative Cathryne Bruce-Johnson.

The state owns the small piece of land between state Route 94 and Interstate 5, and Caltrans keeps an eye on it.

"It's not safe for them and it can pose hazards to the motorists," said Bruce-Johnson.

Last week, 10News reported on the homeless camp with dozens of tents set up at the connector between southbound I-5 and eastbound SR-94. On Monday, cleanup efforts were made after Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol investigated the area.

On Wednesday, however, the tents returned.

"You've identified one location, but the reality is throughout our county we have these encampments," said San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria.

10News asked Gloria what's being done about the estimated 10,000 homeless people who live in the county. San Diego has the third largest homeless population in the nation.   

"That's the creation of additional shelter beds, support of housing units, and the city is working in that direction," said Gloria "Additionally, we're taking a longer term approach with the recent opening of Connections Housing, which is our year-round homeless services facility."

Caltrans says they'll do their part by stepping up the amount of visits to this camp.

"We will be there about twice a week, versus twice a month, to make it less attractive for people coming back," said Bruce-Johnson.

Caltrans says they will clear the brush away, making the area more open.

CHP officials told 10News they have posted some signs in the area asking the people to move. They say they can't arrest them, but they can issue them citations and they'll work closely with Caltrans to clean out the area.

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