ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) — Encinitas leaders will consider developing a parking lot for the homeless next week, but the idea is already receiving pushback.
If approved, the parking lot would be the first for homeless use in North County and modeled after other similar lots in San Diego.
The location, at the Leichtag Commons agricultural property on Saxony Road, would be operated by Jewish Family Services. JFS runs San Diego's other three lots on Balboa Avenue, Aero Drive, and Mission Village Drive.
JFS CEO Michael Hopkins says a lot in North County is desperately needed.
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"Finding a location in North County is really important," Hopkins said. "There's at least 300 individuals living in North County living in their cars."
Hopkins says most of their clients are families and seniors new to being homeless.
"It's almost always their first time being homeless," he adds.
But Encinitas' proposal has its share of opposition. Some locals have already submitted letters to Encinitas City Council against the idea:
- "While a homeless parking lot may sound like a compassionate idea, it will be problematic for the area," wrote one resident.
- "I am not opposed to helping, I am opposed to the location," said another, citing safety concerns.
- "I wonder who is going to pay for the added police patrol/protection when this upscale neighborhood becomes a hep-c ghetto like parts of downtown San Diego," wrote another resident.
- "There's something a bit crazy about allowing homeless people to live in one of the most desirable towns in the world for free, no strings attached," another local wrote.
Much of the money to be used for the program comes from a state grant. Hopkins added that the grant includes money for security, but other lots have had minimal problems.
"We hope when City Council gets together, they'll understand the urgency of families and individuals living in cars," Hopkins said.
Encinitas' leaders will hold their first vote on the plan Wednesday.