City’s homeless ‘czar’ speaks with Midway Planning Group
Published - 04/25/17 - 07:12 AM | 2165 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
City homeless 'czar' Stacie Spector speaks at the Midway Community Planning Group meeting. / Photo by Dave Schwab
City homeless 'czar' Stacie Spector speaks at the Midway Community Planning Group meeting. / Photo by Dave Schwab
At a special meeting of Midway Community Planning Group, city homeless “czar” Stacie Spector talked about establishing a centralized program, while Councilmember Lorie Zapf described legislative impediments barring homelessness reform.

The Midway/Pacific Highway Corridor Community between Old Town and Point Loma is comprised of the central Midway area and the narrow, linear-shaped Pacific Highway Corridor containing some of the city's oldest industrial areas and a few multifamily residential complexes.

Midway is one of San Diego's neighborhoods hardest hit by homelessness given its largely industrial-commercial makeup, and its location near the Old Town transit center and County Mental Health Services on Rosecrans Street.

Referring to today's situation with homelessness as “unprecedented,” Spector noted Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his staff are “coming to the table every single week.” She added Faulconer has labelled homelessness “the number one issue.”

Spector was brought on board to get the city organized in its homelessness dealings.

“I bring chaos, confusion and craziness together and try and streamline it and make sense of it,” Spector quipped, noting there's been a distinct trend with some homeless recently.

“There's been more of an aggressiveness about this the last couple years,” she said, pointing out the homeless population includes itinerant “urban travelers” who sometimes thumb their noses at authority.

Zapf said the state legislature has passed laws recently that hamstrings local law enforcement's dealings with the homeless.

“Proposition 47 did us no favors,” said Zapf about the 2014 state ballot initiative.

Noting she's been on frequent police ride-alongs in Midway, Zapf said she's witnessed, first-hand, how Prop. 47 has made potential criminals more brazen with police.

“This month I was on a ride along and they (police) were trying to move a guy along who had meth in his backpack, and they wrote him a ticket and he tore it up in front of them and didn't care,” she said.

Spector said mere “care taking” won't end homelessness.

“At the end of the day, a tent city doesn't solve our problems,” she said adding, “We can't move people along legally without supplying them with beds — and we're not there yet.”

Adding San Diego has an affordable housing “crisis,” Spector pointed out there's no centralized system in place to “provide the homeless with incentives to get the help they need.”

“The city should develop a series of public service announcements that would go out over radio and TV talking about how people are not helping the homeless, or solving problems with them, by giving them money or feeding them, that that only makes matters worse,” Midway planning chair Cathy Kenton suggested.

Spector noted the city just started a special task force on homelessness to address these and other problematic issues.

Midway Community Planning Group meets the third Wednesday of the month from 3 to 5 p.m. at San Diego Community College West Campus, 3249 Fordham St., in Room 208.

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