Chula Vista

‘Huge' influx of homeless people in Chula Vista after San Diego's camping ban: nonprofit director

Official from Community Through Hope, a Chula Vista nonprofit, said its clientele nearly tripled

NBC Universal, Inc.

As the city of San Diego cracks down on homeless encampments, neighboring cities are seeing an influx of homeless people, according to a homeless service provider in the South Bay.

“It’s been very challenging,” Sebastian Martinez said with a sigh.

Martinez is the executive director of Community Through Hope, a Chula Vista-based nonprofit that provides a number of services for the South Bay’s homeless population.

“We’ve already seen, even in the weeks leading up to the actual announcement of San Diego’s camping ban, a huge influx of folks, folks that aren’t from Chula Vista, National City or IB,” Martinez said.

Martinez couldn’t offer exact numbers but, instead, used CTH’s pantry as a measuring stick. Martinez said the food they distribute from places like Feeding San Diego usually lasts a week.

“We’ve been going through that food every two days,” Martinez said. “We’re trying our best, but we don’t have the resources that San Diego does.”

Just a few miles to the north in San Diego, Angel Fox stood outside her tent on Market Street, which was nestled against a fence that overlooked Interstate 5.

“My first concern is them [city of San Diego] taking my tent,” said Fox. “When you take away these walls, you take away my security, you take away everything that makes me feel like I can safely sleep at night.”

Fox said she doesn’t know where she will go if she’s forced to leave.

“I understand that they’re trying to find a solution, but how are you going to find a solution to a problem you know nothing about?” Fox asked. “Even if you had enough shelter beds to put all of us in, you don’t have enough affordable housing to put all of us in.”

Martinez argued its even worse in Chula Vista and the cities surrounding San Diego.

“We’re having to break the news to them that they’ve actually come to an area that has less resources than the limited amount of resources they had before,” bristled Martinez. “Right now, elected officials don’t have to deal with the consequences of their behavior. Services providers do.”

A city of Chula Vista spokeswoman offered the following statement:

“Any time a jurisdiction adopts and enforces a new policy, there is inevitably going to be ripple effects in neighboring cities. City staff has been and will continue to communicate with agency partners to find ways to address the crisis together. City staff is also currently reviewing city policies and ordinances for possible recommended changes that would be brought to city council in the future.”

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