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Neighbors raise complaints about Oceanside homeless center

Posted at 10:52 PM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 08:24:36-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - The Oceanside Planning Commission appointed a three-person committee Monday to look into public complaints made about a homeless resource center.

The Brother Benno's Center on Production Avenue serves as a soup kitchen and also provides various services to the homeless and less fortunate. The center has served the community for decades.

During Monday’s planning commission meeting, many neighbors and businesses shared issues with the center’s clients committing crimes related to drugs and vandalism. They also reported some of the clients harassing them, leaving trash as well as defecating and urinating on their properties. Many argued that it was making the homeless issue worse.

A majority of the critics said they did not want to see the center closed, but they told the commission they hope the committee will look into those issues and force changes in the way the center does business.

“I think they need some kind of system to screen who’s coming and going, not just feeding, showering them and then letting them go,” one woman said.

There were more than 200 people that showed up to the meeting, and more than 30 people weighed in on their experiences with the center.

Many praised the center’s work and said it was unfairly being singled out for a homeless problem that’s growing in every community, especially Southern California.

“Stop trying to vilify and scapegoat an organization that for more than 30 years has been in this community trying to represent people who care,” one person said in his comments to the commission.

The three-person committee -- consisting of commissioners Tom Rosales, Louise Balma and Chairman Kyle Krahel -- has yet to schedule its first meeting.