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2023 homeless count released, solutions offered

A.C. Roberts

Special to the Village News

The homeless count for 2023 is in for Fallbrook and Bonsall; this year there are 19 unsheltered in Fallbrook and 88 in Bonsall. Last year there were 25 in Fallbrook and 78 in Bonsall. [Note, Bonsall's number combines Vista and Bonsall's homeless.] The count is taken each January on a single night by Point-In-Time.

In the North Inland Region, which consists of Fallbrook, Bonsall, Vista, Escondido, San Marcos, Poway and Ramona, there are 438 unsheltered homeless in 2023. In 2022, there were 339.

"This federally required count is of the minimum number experiencing homelessness. The challenge of finding every unsheltered person in a car, encampment or under a bridge is impossible," said Chief of Staff Jordan Beane, Regional Task Force On Homelessness (RTFH).

Beane added, "It will take a lot of municipalities, as we need more shelter space. It's a housing problem first and foremost. San Diego County is the third most expensive market in the country."

This is the first year a head count could be done on Caltrans properties. The lot across from the Fallbrook Post Office on South Mission Road is owned by Caltrans. Homeless persons break the fence and camp there. Although they leave every time they're told, they return, breaking the fence again. In the past, they damaged some Caltrans equipment.

Private Investigator Anthony Campbell said, "Some homeless left Fallbrook and Bonsall and went to Escondido, thanks to the free hotel vouchers." Campbell, owner of AC Investigations, helps homeless persons reconnect with their families.

"Last week, two new guys showed up whom we've never seen before," said Campbell. "Sheriff deputies and HART (Homeless Assistance Resource Team) talked to them to see how to get them on their feet again.

"HART and the deputies are real helpful in town," continued Campbell. "They give resources and tell the homeless about Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous."

In June, there was a Town Hall meeting on homelessness at the Fallbrook Public Library. Supervisor Jim Desmond told the crowd, "We are working on solutions throughout North County, including putting in more Crisis Stabilization Units (CSU)."

CSU's are walk-in urgent cares for those with mental health issues. They're open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, located in Vista, Oceanside, Escondido and Chula Vista. They can be reached through the county's Access and Crisis Line at 888-724-7240.

The Town Hall was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Attendees were encouraged to check the Chamber's website for groups working to become part of the homeless solution. For more information, go to fallbrookchamberofcommerce.org under Community Information.

People Assisting The Homeless (PATH) is on the Chamber's website. They have specialists who discuss options for homeless housing and drug addiction resources. Counseling will be offered Aug. 10 – 31 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For the location, contact Kevin Wagner at [email protected] or 619-204-7689.

Brother Benno's offers recovery programs at 3260 Production Ave. in Oceanside. Residency is dependent upon an interview, and has some requirements. Breakfast is served and sack lunches are offered. To learn more, call 760-439-1244.

The City of San Diego hopes to slow down their growing encampments with an 'Unsafe Camping Ordinance,' which goes into effect Saturday, Aug. 5. It bans camping within a two-block radius of schools, homeless shelters and transit hubs, and in any open areas like public parks, canyons and riverbeds.

To report local encampments and non-violent offenses, call 760-451-3100 or email [email protected]. To report graffiti, call the Sheriffs' Reporting Hotline at 760-451-3144. For the county's Health and Human Services Agency, call 2-1-1. They give referrals for housing, food, employment assistance and physical and mental health resources.

 

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