Alternative housing proposal shot down in East County community

SAN DIEGO — A controversial proposal to purchase a multi-million dollar property to house the homeless sparked heated debate at Tuesday night’s La Mesa City Council meeting.

The investment proposal is a more than $5.4 million, 16-acre property in rural Campo. Some say it could offer shelter to East County’s growing homeless population, but many weren’t on board.

“I see a problem getting worse, and I see a problem getting worse in every city,” said Laura Lothian, La Mesa City Councilwoman.

Lothian suggested directing staff to research funding options and their viability as housing for the homeless.

“If we are serious about the city of La Mesa hosting a growing number of homeless people and growing homeless camps, and we want to help provide shelter, food and assistance to large numbers of homeless people, we should consider an alternative to building shelters and housing in dense and expensive cities and appears to be prohibitively expensive,” said Lothian.

Callers expressed their disapproval of the proposal and expressed concerns for the Campo community.

“I moved from El Cajon to get away from all of this and I don’t want it to go to the countryside,” said one caller.

“You take this problem, this problem that’s happening in La Mesa and Spring Valley and Santee and El Cajon, and you just shift it to nowhere,” another caller said.

“Add to that the drug abuse, the crime and everything else that comes with it, and without the resources here, it’s a horrible idea,” added another caller.

Other councilors were so opposed to the proposal that they didn’t even support Lothian’s proposal.

This is happening as other cities like El Cajon are fed up with camps plaguing East County. But others say that this facility is not the solution.

“They’re moving, which, as we said, doesn’t solve the problem. You’re just moving a problem from one area to another and that’s what you’re trying to do,” said another caller.

Lothian’s application was closed because he did not receive a second one.

https://fox5sandiego.com/news/local-news/alternative-housing-proposal-in-east-county-community-shot-down/ Alternative housing proposal shot down in East County community

Sarah Y. Kim

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