SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- It’s been nicknamed “The PB meth church,” residents saying a church program that feeds the homeless is instead bring drug use and crime into their neighborhood.
The church says it’s just trying to help and wants to work with the community to fix the issue. Though the church says they’ve done a lot of good, parents in the area say they won’t even let their kids walk down the sidewalk on certain nights of the week.
Seamus McGover is a father of two and says a Wednesday night program at the church that feeds the homeless is bringing disgusting crime to the area.
"Syringes are somewhat common, open drug use, just the loitering, defication, urination, feces,” McGovern said. And he’s not alone.
Janice Bellinghiere left town to get away from the homeless issue. "The first thing you should know is that I'm spending the summer in Los Angeles to get away from the homeless,” Bellinghiere said.
Bellinghiere lives behind the Pacific Beach United Methodist Church and says she’s seen it all. "So I've had two bikes stolen from my backyard. They've slept in my backyard, they've used my outdoor shower, they've pooped and peed in my driveway."
Other neighbors took to social media, saying some of the drug users pass out with needles still in their arms.
"The thing that I would say to the people who are the most angry and the most frustrated is first of all, we hear you. We hear you, and we’re really trying to work at this,” said Pastor Bob Rhodes, lead pastor at Pacific Beach United Methodist Church.
Rhodes says the program not only helps the homeless, but also the working poor. A brochure at the church says the program offers benefits such as medical and dental clinics and veterans services.
"Our purpose in all of these is not just to hand out a free meal, but also to help people escape the circumstances." Rhodes says the church has been to community meetings and want to work with neighbors and city leaders.
"We don’t want to have to choose between the housed community and the unhoused community, we want to serve all of this community, but it’s a really difficult balance."
Many neighbors say the policy makes them feel like the balance isn’t tilted in their favor. "If they didn’t have a place to hang out there, there’s a very good chance they wouldn’t be on the block,” McGovern said.