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10News anchor Kimberly Hunt previews El Cajon's 3rd town hall on homelessness

kimberly hunt on scene of town hall
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Posted at 4:11 PM, Apr 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-26 21:22:58-04

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) — The City of El Cajon is hosting a third town hall on homelessness Wednesday night, once again giving the public a chance to have their voice heard on the issue.

Wednesday's town hall is scheduled to run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Wells Park Recreation Center.

ABC 10News spoke to El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells ahead of the event, and he says his community's concerns surrounding San Diego County's voucher program have fallen on deaf ears.

"Well, we've certainly been trying to work with the county. One of our biggest problems has been these county voucher programs that are forcing people at our hotels and kind of using El Cajon as a dumping ground," Wells says. "We've been trying to talk with them and work out a solution, but we've pretty much hit a stone wall. They don't seem very interested in what we have to say, and it's been pretty acrimonious, unfortunately."

That program allowed some people who are unhoused to temporarily move into motels.

RELATED: El Cajon Police make multiple drug arrests allegedly in connection to County homeless voucher program

A San Diego County spokesperson responded to Wells' quote, saying it's "completely untrue and contradicts fact." You can read the full statement the county provided to 10News below:

"The County and its contractors have been in regular and direct communication with City of El Cajon leadership as we jointly address East County’s pressing homelessness situation. This includes directly responding to inquiries for information, attendance at their recent sessions and providing data on the number of individuals who are in their hotels on a weekly basis.

The voluntary hotel voucher program in El Cajon, and other cities, and its related services, are providing a successful path for screened unhoused individuals and families to regain their footing. This program has assisted over 1,400 individuals countywide with shelter and services. The goal is to provide services to stabilize them so they can successfully exit into permanent housing. For many, this is a lifesaving step that connects them to family, treatment, and other key resources. Some individuals have had struggles with the program rules and have left the program. Many individuals identified publicly as having been part of the program have, in fact, not been enrolled.

Prior to establishment of this program in 2020 by County Board of Supervisors, East County lacked resources and was in a great need of a program like this to provide shelter and services."

The fourth and final town hall on homelessness in El Cajon is scheduled for Thursday, May 4, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Bostonia Recreation Center.

RELATED: Neighbors in El Cajon voice concerns over homelessness at 2nd town hall