ESCONDIDO, CA – A diverse group of community leaders including Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Escondido City Councilmember Joe Garcia, Escondido Union School Board Member Joan Gardner, and Michael Branch, CEO of the East County Transitional Living Center, today held a press conference at Grape Day Park in Escondido to announce new legislation tackling the homeless crisis. A video recording of the press conference can be found here.
The proposed state law will be introduced in the California State Senate by Jones on December 5, 2022, the first day of the upcoming 2023 – 2024 legislative session. A copy of the legislation can be found here.
The legislation is patterned after a recent Los Angeles City measure, aimed at preventing homeless encampments from being near sensitive areas where children are often present or gather. Under Jones’s legislation, it would be against state law to camp within 1,000 feet of these areas. Law enforcement and other officials would first issue verbal and written warnings to those living in the encampments that they need to leave the area within 72 hours or face removal and possible misdemeanor prosecution. For those facing removal, the legislation would also require they be provided with information about homeless resources and agencies in the area.
“We cannot simply continue allowing people to live in our parks and libraries or in front of schools and day-care centers,” stated Senator Brian W. Jones. “It’s inhumane and unhealthy for the homeless to do so, and it’s unfair and often dangerous for the neighbors, families, and children in these sensitive areas. Our measure, along with recent ‘CARES’ legislation sponsored by Governor Newsom, will hopefully help end the public camping in these areas while also compassionately assisting the homeless get treatment for their mental and health needs and find a more suitable place to stay.”
“Homelessness is soaring in California and it’s soaring in San Diego. It’s devastating for the people who are living it and of course it’s devastating for the communities and neighborhoods that are experiencing it. A street is not a home, period. This is commonsense and this bill will put commonsense into California law.” – former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer
“I want to commend Senator Jones for his leadership in addressing homelessness. It’s simply inhumane to allow people to live on the street. As a society – we can do better. Some may say it’s inhumane to force people off the streets and into treatment, but I think it’s more inhumane to keep people on the streets. I look forward to supporting Senator Jones and bringing these efforts to North County.” – Supervisor Jim Desmond
“El Cajon and the greater San Diego region continue to face challenges in addressing homelessness. As law enforcement, we are focused on protecting the public, but oftentimes, our hands are tied due to legal constraints. It’s time we take a different approach. I believe Senator Jones’s proposed legislation will give law enforcement more tools to help compassionately clear encampments and protect our communities most sensitive areas.” – El Cajon Police Department Chief Mike Moulton
“The Senator presents this bipartisan legislation that takes into account the local leadership. So many decisions that are made in Sacramento have a great impact locally, but no one takes this into account. Senator, thank you for doing that because this [proposed legislation], a commonsense approach, I have no doubt will make a great difference for us locally and our communities.”- Escondido City Councilmember Joe Garcia
“We see this bill as a bridge from a life surviving in chaos to a bridge over to a solution. We can work for a solution for change.” – Michael Branch, CEO of East County Transitional Living Center
“Alpha Project strives not to manage homelessness, but rather to end it for its clients by offering jobs not handouts, respect not pity and empowerment not control. We believe Senator Brian Jones’s proposed legislation will help us carry out our organization’s mission by finding the appropriate balance between accountability and compassion as we lift individuals out of homelessness.” – Bob McElroy, Alpha Project CEO, a local non-profit.