Homeless kicked out, El Cajon officials excited about hotel replacing former El Cajon Police HQ

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jul 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-02 21:52:52-04

EL CAJON (KGTV) - About a dozen homeless people were pushed out of the former El Cajon Police Headquarters Monday morning, to prepare the site for demolition.

The old police department has been vacant since 2011, and set on fire twice in the past three years, firefighters say, by the homeless who moved in.

The City of El Cajon is excited to see the eyesore torn down, making way for a Hampton Inn. It will boast about 100 rooms, and officials hope it will fuel the economy.

For those who called the boarded up building home, it's a temporary solution to a bigger problem.

Allessa Williams lived there for a year and described it warmly, "it's cool on a hot day, it's shelter on a rainy day... It just feels like you belong somewhere."

She fell in love at 17 and was with her boyfriend for 10 years, "I swear to god if I just stayed in school and I focused on what was important and not what I wanted to do that was fun, or what I loved or what I thought was cool and interesting my life would be a lot better."

Slowly her support system fell apart and she was alone. The relationship turned abusive, "literally like you can get punched in the face over words," Williams said.

She got out and tried to put her life back together, but said obstacles from being homeless blocked her path at every turn.

She had her mail routed to a family member, and when the voucher for Section 8 came in, she got it a month too late.

At interviews, she said she was discriminated against. She recounted an interview at a restaurant down the street and said she was asked how long she had been living in the area. She realized the employee was asking her how long she'd been homeless, "the vibe shifted and it was like, well we're not necessarily hiring, but this location and this location are hiring and if you don't hear from them in about a week, maybe call them and see what they say."

Williams said being pushed out of the old police headquarters is the latest hurdle her community has faced. Now they're looking for an open room at the shelters. "A lot of them are full or you don't meet their standards or their requirements, you have to be between this and this age or you have to have your children with you," Williams said.

The city expects the paperwork to come through to demolish the building within the next month. Before it is demolished Public Safety Agencies will use it to practice.