Dozens of people living in a homeless encampment in Oceanside are getting more time to relocate before the city forces them out. This comes after Oceanside city councilmembers passed an anti-camping ordinance and emergency motel voucher program, earlier this week. City leaders say the goal is to help transition the community into permanent housing.
People who live in the encampment, located on South Oceanside Boulevard, east of Interstate 5, told NBC 7 it’s known as “Fall-town”.
“A place you go when you fall, when you don’t have anywhere else to go and, I guess to lay your head,” said Leanne, who said she has been living on Oceanside Blvd. for three months. She's one of the dozens of people who are living on the sidewalk, lined with about 35 tents.
One neighbor, Francisco Sanchez, called the encampment dangerous.
“They have, doing drugs. The city needs to take care of the problem because it’s growing and growing,” Sanchez said.
The city of Oceanside placed notices on the gate along the encampment. It read, in part; “On or after April 10, 2021 @ 6 a.m., The city of Oceanside will conduct a clean-up of the area, including the removal of all individuals, personal property, encampments, junk, trash and debris.”
“I was ready to go. I had my stuff loaded up, early this morning, around 3:30 a.m.,” said one man who has been staying at the encampment the last few days.
A city spokesperson told NBC 7 that the city opted not to remove the encampment, yet. Instead, they will continue community outreach every day to ensure each person at the encampment has the opportunity to sign-up for services, including the motel voucher program.
According to a city staff report, the program includes; daily check-ins, monitors room cleanliness, personal hygiene and health of participants, among other criteria. It’s not clear how many people have opted into the program, but one woman told NBC 7 she didn’t agree with the program criteria.
“I’m continually under the threat of, ‘You’re going to be expelled if you don’t act like a good girl, the way we define a good girl’. Your privacy as an American is denying, so even though I have a place to live, I don’t have a place to live because the government is in my living room and under those terms. No, I don’t want a voucher. If I can’t live alone, I’d rather just be free on the street,” said one woman, who did not want to share her name.
It’s not clear when the city will return to clear the encampment.