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People in Pacific Beach want answers to growing homeless problem

CEO of homeless task force to speak Wednesday
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Posted at 6:20 AM, Oct 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-18 09:20:14-04

People in Pacific Beach say the homeless problem is getting worse in their neighborhood, and they're calling on the city to provide some answers and solutions.

They've invited the Gordon Walker, the new CEO of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless to speak at this month's PB Town Council Meeting.

"We're hoping for some solutions that will appease everyone," said Greg Daunoras, president of the Town Council.

While it's difficult to track specific movements of the homeless population, some people in PB say the Hepatitis A outbreak downtown has forced homeless people into different parts of the city. They feel many of them are coming to the coast.

"You have to avoid them on the boardwalk here, like if you're running or exercising. It's sad," said Angela Fadul, who comes to PB to work out several times each week.

"I get it, they have nowhere else to go, it's a nice place, the weather's pleasant, the park is here," added Phil Sokol, who lives across the street from the library.

He said you can see homeless people sleeping in front of it almost 24 hours a day. He thinks the public restrooms make it a magnet for the homeless.

"The problem is it does increase crime. It does affect the quality of the neighborhood," he said.

A group of people in PB, calling themselves the "silent majority," are so fed up, they've started a petition on change.org asking churches to stop feeding the homeless.

As of Wednesday morning, it has about 375 signatures.

Daunoras said he's also heard from business owners in Pacific Beach who say they find homeless people sleeping in their doorways every morning and are fed up with having to clean up after them. He's interested in what Walker's plans will be to solve the problem.

"It's a tough issue to put your finger on and come up with solutions," Daunoras said.

Walker comes with a track record of success. While he was the head of the Division of Housing and Community Development in Utah, homelessness decreased by 91% from 2005-2015. He used a "housing first" plan there, and has said in the past that San Diego is set up for similar success.

Walker will speak at the meeting Wednesday night around 6:30 pm. It's open to the public and iwll be held at Crown Point Music Academy. The address is 4033 Ingraham Street.