COMPOC: A Roundtable on Santee Homeless

Santee's Community Oriented Policing Committee tackles the issue of the homeless around town.

Each month the Santee Community Oriented Policing Comittee (COMPOC) holds a from Santee's law enforcement, government, schools and other key organizations discuss local crime issues so that they can make recomendations to the .

This month's meeting focused on homelessness in Santee- a timely topic considering the by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless happens at the end of January.

Here are some key notes from the Jan. 9 meeting:

• mentioned that he attended a League of CA Cities meeting about the . He said that San Diego County, including , is well poised to take on the new number of prisoners. He thinks the system will revert to how it used to operate, state prison was for housing more violent offenders and most everyone else was dealt with on a county level. Also, he said there are more education programs available at the state level, so that should hopefully reduce the recidivism rate.


• A presentation was given about the homeless situation in the Santee area as the sees it. Here are notes on statements made during the presentation:

  • The Santee Sheriff's Dept. designates the homeless into two types: the "homeless," which they consider people forced onto the street for financial reasons, and "transients," which are mostly single males that choose homelessness as a lifestyle. The Sheriff's Dept. generally deals with "transients" in Santee.
  • Transients generally congregate along the river bottom and the brings them in during the day.
  • The San Diego River bottom is environmentally impacted due to the area's homeless encampments and the large amount of trash generated.
  • The Sheriff's Dept. tries to find inebriated transients as they come out of the river bottom in the morning.
  • The Sheriff's Dept. works closely with the in tracking and dealing with the homeless situation on the river bottom.
  • All citations of people identified as homeless are put into a Sheriff's database so they can be tracked, usual citations include unlawful camping and public intoxication.
  • An exact number of homeless related citations was unavailable, but was pegged at "more than 50 and less than 100" last year.
  • The "homeless season" in Santee is when the river dries and it gets warmer.
  • Copper and other is a huge industry for the transients, wire coatings and scraps are found at their campsites often, and a couple local parks have been stripped for their copper recently.

Representatives of the and GUHSD talked about homelessness in schools:

  • Four students at are documented as homeless (eight are suspected homeless), none are documented at and over 500 families in the GUHSD are considered homeless (meaning they lack a fixed nighttime location). There are also 75 students recognized as "unaccompanied youth."
  • These students and families are a separate issue from the "transient" homeless that the Sheriff's Dept. tends to deal with.
  • According to the most recent , Santee has 400-600 children living with grandparents.
  • GUHSD offers benefits for students designated as homeless, including two meals a day, bus passes and certain clothing.
  • "Kids come from St. Vincent de Paul to GUHSD everyday."
  • $25,000 worth of bus passes were distributed in GUHSD last year.
  • GUHSD's grant to help homeless students was $50,000 last year, and dropped to $23,000 this year.

Other comments on homelessness:

  • Minto said he thinks the laws need to change to reflect different classes of homeless so that funds can be distributed to those that need them most.
  • "Is there some way to get a discounted camping rate at Santee Lakes for the needy?"

The will take place Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. and will feature a report on animal control and dog parks in Santee.

Bill Howell January 19, 2012 at 03:05 PM
This is going to sound mean, heartless, and selfish, but I'm going to say it anyway: Santee is no place for homeless people. We do not have the facilities (housing, feeding, sanitation) in our infrastructure to support these folks. They should be encouraged to not settle here. If they are made to feel welcome such as providing vouchers for camping at Santee Lakes, we will soon see Mission Gorge Rd. looking like 16th. and Commercial in SD with people sleeping on the sidewalks and grocery carts full of personal belongings all over the sidewalks. The increase in copper thefts mentioned is a warning sign that theft has become a method to support alcoholism and drug addiction. The next step will be an increase in residential burglaries and car prowls. There is a communication network among the hobos and those getting free meals and housing at St. Vincent and other campsites such as the SD river near Friars Rd. Word spreads quickly to give tips on where the pickings are easy. The access to the trolley from downtown SD and the SD river area near fashion valley provide easy access to Santee to prey on us. Our government and our Santee Sheriff's deputies should do everything they can to present Santee as being an unfriendly place for wandering hobos and thieves. (I know I'm going to catch a lot of static for this comment, but it needs to be said. Let's not roll over and become easy pickings. There are plenty of other places already set up to handle the homeless. We aren't)
just my opinion January 20, 2012 at 07:43 AM
Well said....
SweetPea May 20, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Ditto........Well written, Mr Howell
ROBERTA LAMBERT March 28, 2013 at 06:27 PM
I so agree, I really do. We have to get the "homeless" and "transients" seperated and help the ones who so desperatley need it. How awful with so many jobs being lost now, to find you have lost everything and everyone looks at you like your just in the way, dont want to deal with you. There has to be a way to help, soon the job market is going to present us with even more of these cases, then what ? We do need to try to help. Some had homes here in Santee and their children still go to school here. Some are doing all they can and just need some help. Some, as always, will take advantage and abuse it. Lets just try to do something so they can get their lives back. Santee is at the end of the trolley line too. I know since it was finished more "transients" have been here, they choose to live that way. but the families who have lost everything, lets try to find help.


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