By Miriam Raftery
Hear our interview, originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM radio in January, by clicking the audio link, and scroll down for highlights of how Esetela de los Rios believes our region’s homeless problems could and should be solved .
February 18, 2017 (San Diego)—Estela de los Rios with CSA, a fair housing and human rights organization in El Cajon since 1969, is calling for a change in how the homeless are treated in the city of San Diego and across San Diego County. San Diego now has the fourth highest number of homeless people in the nation according to the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency statistics. Yet instead of providing meaningful help to homeless people, San Diego has often resorted to criminalizing homelessness—passing out citations for sleeping in public places and having police seize tents and sleeping bags even amid cold winter storms.
Homeless has affected every city in San Diego County, including East County cities of El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Santee, as well as unincorporated areas of the County. As San Diego cracks down on homelessness, more homeless people have resorted to camping along river banks, in parks and on the streets of communities in East County, where homelessness is a problem for every city.