Written by T. Logan Dayne
“Out of sight, out of mind.”
This phrase appears to exemplify San Diego’s homelessness solution as exposed by a new investigative study done in El Cajon. Last week, a study found that out of 703 rooms, 185 were occupied by individuals using homeless motel vouchers issued by San Diego County contractors, which comes to roughly 25%. The El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells and City Manager Graham Mitchell found that the county had secretly been housing homeless people in their hotels after a significant increase in crime and medical responses being reported around the neighborhood. The study also found that two of the motels were 100% occupied by those using the voucher.
City Manager Graham Mitchell also found an increase in drug trafficking in the area that has come with it, including increased use of fentanyl, an opioid that has resulted in 71,238 deaths in 2021, which is a 23% increase from 2020. County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher claims that Wells just wants people out on the street and not in permanent housing, saying that it is “difficult work of getting people off the streets and into permanent housing. Mayor Bill Wells and the City of El Cajon want to push them back onto the streets…” Whether or not Fletcher believes that housing homelessness in motels is the “permanent” solution he was referring to is unknown. Mayor Gloria Todd’s solution to house homelessness in motels was only supposed to be temporary, but little has been revealed on solutions to actually solve homelessness besides sweeping it under the rug.
Photo Cred: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images