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California mayor ‘calls foul’ as homeless people are sent to city’s hotels without notice

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California mayor ‘calls foul’ as homeless people are sent to city’s hotels without notice
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The mayor of a San Diego suburb sounded the alarm on “Fox & Friends” Friday about homeless people being bussed to hotels in his city without his knowledge. 

El Cajon, California Mayor Bill Wells described a huge influx of homeless people, with some hotels becoming full due to the program. 

“We’ve seen a huge influx of homeless people over the past couple of months. We really didn’t understand what was going on. And when we did an investigation, we found out that our hotels were even being filled with homeless through a homeless voucher program,” he explained.

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Rows of tents line the sidewalk in San Francisco.SAN FRANCISCO, USA - AUGUST 29: Homeless tents are seen near the City Hall of San Francisco in California, United States on August 29, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Rows of tents line the sidewalk in San Francisco.SAN FRANCISCO, USA – AUGUST 29: Homeless tents are seen near the City Hall of San Francisco in California, United States on August 29, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
((Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images))

According to Wells, San Diego county has been sending homeless people who are a part of a homeless voucher program to hotels in El Cajon. A city investigation found some smaller hotels were at 25% or more capacity of homeless people. 

“We had not talked about this with the county whatsoever and found out that some of our hotels were 50% filled with homeless and some were up to 100% filled with homeless,” Wells said.

El Cajon and San Diego County partner with Equus Workforce Solutions which has a voucher program designed to get homeless people off the street. However, the voucher program has a 28-day limit before the homeless are moved to a new location. 

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Wells argued the dramatic increase has happened without communication from the county. 

“We just call foul because what’s really happening is sheriff’s deputies are coming and dropping off homeless people,” Wells told host Brian Kilmeade. “County employees are coming, moving homeless people around and all of this is done without any discussion with us.”

Wells was clear that while his city is more than open to doing its share in helping the homeless population, he demanded other regions of the county should have an “equitable” share of the responsibility.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 6:  Dozens of homeless people line up for a free meal at St. Anthony's church December 6, 2002 in San Francisco, California. 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – DECEMBER 6:  Dozens of homeless people line up for a free meal at St. Anthony’s church December 6, 2002 in San Francisco, California. 
((Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images))

“They love to use the word equity, but nobody is being equitable in taking care of their share of the homeless,” Wells said.  

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors responded harshly to Mayor Wells’ criticism. 

“The public expects us to take action. El Cajon is playing a tired old blame game that does nothing to address the problem of homelessness in our region,” the board said in a statement. 

Wells has criticized the program for perpetuating cycles of homeless and other criminal activity that often accompanies homelessness. 

“Giving them housing is only putting a Band-Aid on a problem that will never go away until you address addiction issues,” Wells said.

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“If you want to get off the street and you want to get clean, no problem. We’ll get you off the street, get you clean right away, or at least give you the opportunity.”

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