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Aguilar asks for council discussion on homeless Robert Moreno | Sat, Oct 10 2015 12:00 PM

Chula Vista Councilwoman Pat Aguilar is expected to lead a discussion about the city’s increasing homeless population at the Tuesday, Oct. 13, Chula Vista City Council meeting.

Previously she asked the item be placed on the council agenda for council discussion.

Aguilar said after the council approved the council districts map in the summer she was assigned to oversee District 2, the northwest part of Chula Vista.

Since she’s been assigned to that area she has been keeping up with the issues and concerns that northwest Chula Vista residents have, she said.

The main issue residents always email her about is the increasing homeless population in the northwest.

Aguilar said these concerns were reinforced when a news article in the Union Tribune listed northwest Chula Vista as a countywide hotspot for homelessness.

“I’ve been noticing, just in driving around and spending time (in District 2), that there just seemed to me to be an increasing number of homeless people around,” she said. “And at the same time I was getting more and more emails complaining about the homeless situation.”

Aguilar said half the emails  she gets about the issue are from residents or business owners asking the city to get homeless individuals out of the city. The other half ask about providing a shelter and other resources that these individuals can use.

“I hear both sides of the picture,” she said. “Some people just want them to ‘get out of my neighborhood,’” she said. “Other people really feel compassionate and want the city to take some action, to do something.”

Aguilar said she is going into the Oct. 13 discussion without  any preconceptions or ideas on how to solve the homeless problem.

“What I want to do is hear from my colleagues on the council, I want to hear from people in the community who come to the council meeting to hear their thoughts on what to do, and I want to hear from our own city staff,” she said.

Aguilar acknowledges that she doesn’t have the answer on how to address the issue, that’s why she is open to ideas.
“I just want to just have a discussion about what steps we as a city can take that might be helpful locally,” she said.

Southwest Chula Vista Civic Association President Tino Martinez is creating a documentary titled “Homeless at Home” and shared a snippet of the documentary with the council last Tuesday.

“The southwest does have a huge problem with the homeless,” he said. The (homeless) camps are growing. They spill out because what happens is the homeless community kind of police themselves, essentially if they get into trouble with one group, they have to separate and start another group.”

Martinez said he is creating the documentary to provide a voice for homeless individuals because he said there are homeless people who do want the city to provide more resources to them so they can get help. The documentary also shows how many homeless individuals are not drug addicts or alcoholics or have a mental illness; many of them are normal people who just had some bad luck in life.

Aguilar said homelessness is not just a Chula Vista issue; it’s a nationwide problem.

She said while the west side of the city has an influx in homeless people, the east side also sees its share.

The homeless on the east side are not out in the streets but in canyons and open space areas, compared to the west side where homeless are seen hanging out in the public streets, Aguilar said.

“They are less visible in the east side,” Aguilar said.

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Liz V Says:

Sun, Oct 18 2015 03:57 PM

The new homeless are families with kids, abused women, veterans with PTSD who can't get their benefits and after 2 years are told no, firefighters(yes) who had health issues, realtors who made six figures and because of the economy ended up poor, young people who have a mental illness.Many of them go to school, work part time in your local schools or in the airport. Thank you Chula Vista for not kicking them, this issue is complex but we cannot kick them while they are down.

CesJes Says:

Tue, Oct 13 2015 06:26 PM

Let me start by saying "Thank you" to Star News for bringing this out for a serious discussion on the issue. I grew up in Chula Vista and live in the community of the northwest. 3rd Ave Downtown is just being over run by the homeless. Both parks that are near downtown CV are now permanent homes for the homeless. Specifically Memorial Park in front of rec center and third ave. The homeless hang out there right next to the Park bathrooms. How does the city expect for people to invest in the area when its not attractive to the those investing. It was a shame the city removed the fountain from Memorial park, but really it had turned into a bath for the homeless.
And the library there is another issue. Homeless hangout there and play poker, yes poker on the computers. Its a shame. They sleep in the valleys of the park behind the place making it a scary place to walk the dog at night. The business on third avenue, Well its just out of control there in the evening and must be a factor in the commercial real estate sale/rent prices there. In the little walk ways there small camps of homeless. To be honest the homeless have gotten quite comfortable, they're to level of squatters. I understand that they are people too. But something needs to be done. The rapid transit is on its way and its just going to get to level of what San Diego down town is experiencing. The city speaks of redevelopment of the Bayfront and Third Avenue Downtown. But how can we get there when the image of a "ghetto" are so obvious to the investors.

Its obvious that keeping the status quo isn't working. Turning away and telling yourself it is not a problem is no longer a viable path. Something NEEDS to be done. Especially for the future of the City. Do we really want to be the SD DownTown of the 80's? Because we are on our way if we don't do something soon.

anniej Says:

Sat, Oct 10 2015 05:37 PM

While the northwest has issues let us not forget the southwestern area. We have tractor trailers, motor homes, homeless living in cars and even 18 wheelers cluttering our streets.

For the life of me, I can not understand all of the 'talking, considering, evaluating - you are the leaders of our fine City - PUT SOME VERBS IN YOUR SENTENCES AND DO SOMETHING.

I can not help but think if I drove a camper and parked it across the streets from the Mayor or Councils homes and left it there, dumping sewage down street gutters something would be done.

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