As a reporter in El Cajon, Calif. (in San Diego County), I covered the plight of the homeless in that city many times. Anne Kruger, writing for the Union-Tribune, says El Cajon is “becoming a mecca for homeless people around the county.” No. it’s always been a mecca. The homeless are drawn there by the consistently warm weather and many programs catering to their needs.
Now another dogooder wants to build yet another shelter.
There are two problems with building another shelter in El Cajon. First, no matter how many shelters you build, there will always be more homeless. Build more shelters, draw in more homeless. Second, there are shelter beds throughout San Diego County that go begging every night. Why? Because any shelter that is going to be well run, well maintained and be of any real benefit to homeless people is going to insist residents follow a few rules and regulations. Many homeless people won’t give up their freedom. They will tell you as much in just those words. I’ve interviewed many, many homeless people in El Cajon. They want a bed and a bath and food, but not if it means they have to wake up at a certain time in the morning, do chores, get educated and be encouraged to find a job.
The El Cajon City Council rarely does anything right, but putting the breaks on this homeless shelter proposal makes a lot of sense.