By James P. Rudolph
La Jolla resident
As many readers of the La Jolla Light have no doubt noticed, there are more and more homeless people hanging out (and in some cases sleeping) near the CVS store on Pearl Street. From a humanitarian perspective, this is sad. The City of San Diego's Homeless Outreach Team ("HOT"), which is "available to assist the community with homeless-related issues," clearly is not doing enough to respond to this growing problem. The best thing to do is call HOT as often as possible. The number is (858) 490-3850.
In the meantime, if this option seems inadequate, calling the non-emergency San Diego Police Department number is an alternative. The number is (858) 484-3154. If the individual is sleeping on the street or in a nearby area, the offense is called illegal lodging. Police officers are not automatically allowed to issue tickets for illegal lodging; however, if the homeless individual refuses to move to a nearby homeless shelter, the officer can issue the ticket.
In most cases, these individuals need professional help, and the City of San Diego can and must offer its services. Apart from this, La Jollans (and people in other parts of San Diego facing similar problems) have every right to maintain the cleanliness and charm of their town. Many of the areas frequented by homeless individuals are filled with personal effects, rubbish and other ill-smelling items.
This economic downturn has taken its toll on most individuals, and we should keep that in mind. At the same time, revitalizing La Jolla certainly entails getting the homeless off the streets and into the shelters. La Jolla and the homeless deserve nothing less.