A broken shrine at a Logan Heights church is the latest in a series of problems caused by the homeless population draw into the neighborhood because of homeless services, according to the church’s pastor.
"Our area did not cause the homelessness and it’s not up to us to resolve it,” Father Pepe said describing how students discover syringes and used condoms outside of the Our Lady of Guadalupe School.
“This would not be happening next to the La Jolla Country Day School,” he said.
There are 80 children enrolled in the school. Often, the students do not use the school playground because of the homeless population in the area. Father Pepe said 99 percent of the neighborhood’s population is Latino.
"These children, because they are Mexicans, they don't deserve less than other children in the city," Father Pepe said.
There is a two-foot crack in the glass protecting the shrine at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. San Diego police say 26-year-old Kelly Duggan, who lives on the street, threw a kneeler at it in broad daylight Tuesday. She was arrested Thursday afternoon.
This senseless act of vandalism will cost the church over $1,000.
With a storage center for the homeless about to open just feet from parish grounds, there may not be enough forgiveness to fix the anticipated problems.
Three thousand parishioners fill the pews Sundays at the church that stands in the shadow of a warehouse about to become a 500-bin storage facility for the homeless.
Father Pepe says caring for the homeless is a shared responsibility among all San Diego neighborhoods, and it doesn't just belong to Logan Heights.
"This is not about care for the homeless, this is about getting them out of the way of everyone else,” Father Pepe said.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has promised increased police patrols, security at the facility, and cleanup crews. But Father Pepe and others in the Our Lady community are skeptical.
The Mayor says the storage facility could open by June 13.