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Encinitas City Council votes to move forward with proposed site for homeless safe parking program

Posted at 11:17 PM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 09:01:23-04

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) -- The Encinitas City Council on Wednesday night voted 4-2 on a motion to move forward with a proposal to turn a parking lot at the Encinitas Community & Senior Center into a safe parking area for the homeless.

“The safe parking program is really homeless prevention because the people involved in this program have a place to sleep overnight that’s safe,” Mayor Catherine Blakespear, Encinitas, said. "And they have social workers who come to them and help them get back into housing.”

The program’s current deal at the Leechtag Foundation is set to expire at the end of November.

Jewish Family Services, which runs the program, and the city are moving it to the center where there would be a maximum 25 spots allotted for those who qualify, are properly vetted, and follow the rules.

The program is funded by a state grant until June 2022.

"It is the kind of a thing where the city has skin in the game. We're walking our talk by saying we recognize that homelessness is a problem that every city is facing,” Blakespear said.

But it’s a decision that was met with some opposition before council made it’s decision.

“The problem is that the unvetted here at this location and if they’re rejected from the program, they tend to linger in the neighborhoods,” Natalie Settoon, who opposes the propose program site, said.

“It should be a concern but it’s being moved right to the doorstep of the school,” Jed Stuber, who also opposed the site, said.

Those who protested at Encinitas city hall aren’t the only ones upset at the site location.

Some took to public comment at the virtual city council meeting.

And San Dieguito Unified High School District recently passed a resolution on Monday opposing the move.

It’s saying there was a lack on district input.

Some council members wanted to hold off to have more communication with all parties impacted with the program.

“The resolution that they passed is accurate. The city did not effectively communicate with the school district,” Tony Kranz, City Of Encinitas City Councilmember who voted against moving forward with the proposed, said.

In the end the parking lot is a place to open a space to help others.

It’s a concept people aren’t rejecting but where it’s happening.

“I, frankly, could see approving this parking lot at that facility. But again, the process has been flawed,” Kranz said.