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Mayor pushes for passage of ordinance to stop homeless encampments near schools

By Natay Holmes,


SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The homelessness crisis continues to be an issue in San Diego, and now local leaders say homeless encampments are having an impact on schools and children.

“It’s hard seeing the homeless,” said parent Vivian Kikta. “I try to help them myself if I have extra funds. I prepare meals for them if I can, but it’s heartbreaking.”

Kikta said her 10-year-old son attends Perkins Elementary School in Barrio Logan. She said she feels for her child and the other students as they walk to school each day.

“We don’t need the needles on the side of the street. We don’t need piles of poop on the street,” she said.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “I want to state very clearly we are not going to accept this as the normal state of affairs in San Diego.”

Gloria stood with other local leaders at Perkins Elementary Tuesday morning and asked the City Council to pass the Unsafe Camping Ordinance at the next council meeting.

The proposed law would prohibit encampments in certain areas like transit centers, parks, and schools. Gloria said the ordinance also comes with a companion item that lays out the proposed Safe Sleeping Program.

According to the mayor, there will be “two sites at the edge of Balboa Park (with) hundreds of unsheltered individuals in city provided tents, along with a safe and legal space for people sleep. This program will provide bathrooms, security, and other services to help individuals end their homelessness.”

But Kikta said getting some to accept services may be a challenge.

“It’s gotta be a choice; they have to want to go find help. If you don’t want help, say you don’t want help but don’t interfere with kids wanting to learn,” said Kitka.

The City Council is expected to vote on the Unsafe Camping Ordinance at its next meeting on June 13.

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