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After years of dithering, Mayor Faulconer announces homeless tent plan destined to fail

Photo credit:
JMS Reports

Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio is blasting Mayor Kevin Faulconer for failing to adequately address the exploding homeless crisis in San Diego.

Mayor Faulconer today announced his plan is simply to erect a few large tents to temporarily house the homeless - a strategy DeMaio says is destined to fail.

"San Diego's homeless crisis will not be solved by erecting a few tents - it can only be solved by full and effective enforcement of laws to force homeless individuals into treatment programs," DeMaio said.

DeMaio says the root of San Diego's homeless crisis can be found in its decision to stop enforcing a multitude of laws against homeless and the loss of leverage in forcing homeless into shelters, mental health programs, and substance abuse programs.  

DeMaio points out that the capacity of the tent Faulconer is proposing is a fraction of what is needed to house an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 unsheltered homeless individuals currently living on the streets and in canyons in the region.

Moreover, a recent study showed many existing beds in homeless shelters remain unused because many homeless individuals refuse to go to shelters and city leaders refuse to allow law enforcement to force them into a shelter.

DeMaio is calling on the Mayor to declare a public health emergency with the recent Hepatitis A outbreak - a move that could empower law enforcement to force homeless individuals off the streets and into treatment programs. 

"Unless you use the stick of law enforcement along with the carrot of treatment, the homeless will continue to come to San Diego and congregate on our streets," DeMaio notes. "Mayor Faulconer and city councilmembers have said nothing about using law enforcement powers in this crisis because they are afraid of being accused of being mean to the homeless - it's not mean, it's effective tough love," DeMaio notes.

As a matter of full disclosure, Hale Media Publisher Johnathan Hale is married to Carl DeMaio.