Oceanside residents demand solution to homelessness issue

Posted at 6:30 PM, Oct 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-17 21:30:58-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — Neighbors in North County call this "Taking Back Oceanside."

"We need to cite, we need to ticket, arrest when possible," said Andrew Andrioff. 

It's a response to a growing homeless population that's leaving neighbors frightened and frustrated. The San Luis Rey riverbed is covered with needles, tents, trash and shopping carts. 

Andrioff is behind the movement to change that. He was among dozens of people who addressed city council Wednesday night. 

RELATED: Oceanside group aims to clean up trash, violence in San Luis Rey riverbed

He says the social services offered in Oceanside may be making the situation worse. 

"Our concern is that we’re attracting habitual vagrants to Oceanside through these services," said Andrioff. "we don’t want to enable these people to continue to their criminal and drug-addicted lives."

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez says the city has three homeless outreach teams but they need more help. 

"This really is a regional problem, whatever one city does everyone is going to want to go there so we all have to go at the same time," said Sanchez. 

The problem has only gotten worse since the city is forced to take in more people than it can handle. 

"Are we going to really be responsible for Orange County cities that are cleaning out the river and giving them one-way tickets to Oceanside?" said Sanchez. "I really think what we should be pushing is a blue ribbon committee, the county, the 18 cities, as well as the state."

Recommendations made to the council tonight included declaring an Emergency Shelter Crisis and increasing police enforcement. 

The Taking Back Oceanside group is set to meet with the chief of police on October 24.