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Proposed homeless shelter in Lakeside causing controversy

Posted at 7:24 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 22:24:12-04

LAKESIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — There is a potential solution to curb homelessness in East County. Supervisor Joel Anderson is proposing a new shelter that would consist of sleeping cabins.

However, there are some who have expressed concern with this proposal.

If you look just beyond the fence that is located behind an A-1 Self Storage facility in Lakeside, you can see an empty lot. That lot is where Supervisor Anderson envisions 60 mini temporary homes to be located. Some believe it is the perfect spot for a new homeless shelter, while others believe there are better options.

Some like Robert Silwa believe the issue of homelessness in Lakeside needs to be addressed. "They are not taking care of the problem they are just pushing it down to other neighborhoods."

"We forget them, we forget that part of the community, I think we need to give our charities," shares La Mesa resident, Ron Murrell. "And actually have that apply to the people who need our help because one day it could be us."

For Jennifer Peabody, she shared with ABC10 News that she was once homeless. The thought of a shelter, she believes could only do good, "If they had more proper help to get off of the streets then they would stay off the streets."

She furthers, "When you are down on your luck it's hard to get back up, when your down and it doesn't help to have people kicking you while you're down."

Lakeside's total homeless population has more than doubled in the last two years. It's why Supervisor Anderson decided that the empty lot off of Riverford Road would be the best spot for his vision.

"We wouldn't allow cats and dogs to live like this," shares Supervisor Anderson. "It's outrageous that we allow people to."

The shelter would provide 60 mini homes, with up to 2 people in a unit. Individuals would have to opt-in to services. The shelter would have 24/7 security and would be fenced in. It would not provide walk-up services, and only provide care for those in the immediate area.

"There's a lot of people on the street, a lot of people living in their cars that have jobs but just can't make ends meet," explains Supervisor Anderson.

"So if we can move some of those people from the cars to these places, give them better wrap-around services, the more people we can place with more jobs and opportunity the better," he furthers.

But not everyone thinks so.

The owner of the A-1 Storage facility spoke with ABC10 News via email. He says that he's 100% opposed to having this shelter right next to his store. He thinks a federal park system for a homeless camp is a better solution. His five-page solution can be viewed here.

But at least right now, that option is not on the table.

Anderson says while he is not married to this specific spot, he has not heard of a better idea.

"People say homelessness is a huge issue, I can't take my kids to the park, but I don't want it near my house. Well you can't walk both sides of the street at the same time," says Supervisor Anderson. "You got to choose."

Anderson says he will keep asking constituents where they want to see the shelter, as the next steps would be officially claiming this site as the foundation for the new shelter.

The approval would take several months, and it would take months to build. The temporary shelter would be in operation for only about 2 to 5 years, according to Supervisor Anderson.