Why Can't El Cajon Dedicate One Vacant Lot for the Homeless
by John Lawrence, August 9, 2018
The homeless are overflowing into every alley, nook and cranny in El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego. They congregate on Walter Way behind the Walgreen's. They've almost taken over Wells Park, a playground for children. Yet the City does nothing except to erect some signs along the roads that discourage people from giving money to the homeless as they hold up cardboard signs at intersections. It seems that Nixon's policy of "benign neglect" is the official policy towards the homeless.
Yet there are a bunch of vacant lots downtown and nearby, one right across from the Salvation Army where they go for services, right on Main Street. They could put in a park like campground plus services there, and then the homeless would have some place to go, some place to be. It would be a lot cheaper than building so-called affordable housing. Just a camping site basically plus services like maybe rest rooms, lockers, showers, security, a social worker, a bike rack, a laundry, mailboxes. This place would allow pets, a key provision that most shelters do not allow. However, the NIMBYs are out in force. Also the NWMTDers. (Not With My Tax Dollars). Wouldn't it be nicer to have a children's park not overflowing with homeless citizens because they had a better place to go? Also, it would make the police's job easier. Naysayers would compare this to a concentration camp, but that's a false comparison because they could leave at any time. They would not be confined there.
In downtown San Diego there is one measly place on 17th street called the Neil Good day center. It offers a bunch of services for the homeless including laundry, mail, coolness, TV. The homeless flock there, but it's only open during the day and it's overcrowded. It's the kind of place that's on the right track, but insufficient. Of course Father Joe's serves meals 365 days a year and offers shelter beds. But they don't allow pets. Most homeless people don't want to give up their pets, the only friends they have in many cases.
America does not want to deal with the homeless situation as a social problem that warrants something being done about it including the expenditure of funds. As a result the homeless population continues to grow due to unaffordable rents and other factors. It really separates society into two groups: the haves and the have-nots, the homed and the homeless. There is a stark contrast between the two groups which makes for a very Un-united State of America.