San Diego City Council

Normal Heights Pushing Park Curfew To Help Homeless Issue

Homeless San Diegans living in several Normal Heights parks may have to soon look for a new home

Five years ago, Lori Buck worked in promotions.

Now, she calls a tent in Normal Heights' Ward Canyon Park home.

“I lost my job and lost my section 8, so I became homeless,” said Buck.

But Buck's days at her home in Ward Canyon Park, a place many other homeless San Diegans also call home, may be numbered. 

The Adams Recreation Council has been collecting signatures on a petition pushing for a park curfew from midnight to 6 a.m. at Adams Community Park, Ward Canyon Park and Ward Canyon Dog Park.

Residents spoke about the issue at the Adams Park Recreation Center on Tuesday night. 

Residents like Nicole Hobbs, who are in favor of a curfew, spoke out about the influx of transient people in her neighborhood. 

Hobbs said she could see the negative effects when she walks with her 3-year-old at nearby parks. 

“[There's] just an element of not feeling safe," she said. "I picked up a crack pipe or part of a broken crack pipe about a month ago.”

Signs reading "no carts and excess personal belongings" are posted outside Adams Park, but that's not stopping people from parking their baskets just feet from the sign.

Neighbors wonder why the rule isn't being enforced.

On the other side of the debate are homeless San Diegans like Buck, who now wonders where she will go with her dog while waiting for housing. 

“I definitely don’t want to be a problem," she said. "I mean, at one point they had a parking lot where people could put up tents, but they stopped it.”

Hobbs said she wants to be compassionate about finding solutions to the homeless issue. 

“The question is, if they’re moving out of the park, they’re coming to my house and camping against my wall," she said. "Where are we moving them next.”

San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward, who represents Normal Heights, has not taken a stance on the curfew. He did, however, recently call for a list of actions to be taken to address the Hepatitis A outbreak and growing impact of homelessness on neighborhoods.

To find a full list of actions, click here

The Adams Recreation Council still has to get more signatures on the petition, and the San Diego City Council will ultimately have to approve the curfew. No date for a vote has been set yet.

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