See to Mayor Voepel's questioning.
Last week, Santee sent a letter to , executive director of the (RTFH), questioning the recent homeless count which tallied , up from 15 the year before.
Mayor Voepel has put an item on Wednesday's agenda addressing the issue:
"Dating back to 1997, the City of Santee has expressed concerns over the number of homeless as reported by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. The figures reported by the Task Force over the past few years have been in line with our estimates. However, in March 2011, the Task Force reported a 287% increase (from 15 to 58) in the number of homeless in Santee.
"While the does not formally count the number of homeless, the COPPS deputies and other personnel patrol our community daily and have consistently documented 12 to 15 homeless each year. Currently, the Santee Sheriff's Station can accurately identify 14 in Santee. They have never contacted or had reported to them any homeless children.
"I would like the number of homeless in Santee to be accurately documented, and ask the Regional Task Force on the Homeless to correct their figures."
Callstrom replied with a letter explaining the purpose of the RTFH annual count, a bit about their methods and reached out with a willingness to cooperate with the :
"Our purpose and intent is simply to conduct an objective count for those who are homeless throughout the entire County. If any errors have been made, we would certainly correct what has been reported. As such, we are revisiting all maps/tallies in Santee to ensure what our volunteers reported to us. If the count needs to be adjusted, we will proactively inform you...
"Also, we understand that their may be variations in annual counts for various reasons: number of volunteers who are able to cover every map within each city; where people are residing (e.g., riverbed, parks, streets, vehicles, and more) during the PITC window of time (4am-8am on one given day) in which we count; who happens to be homeless in the area during that window of time; the definition of homelessness, etc."
The letter ended saying that RTFH would be willing to meet with the City Council to discuss their "methodology, findings, and analysis."
While Mayor Voepel began on the warpath against RTFH, at one point writing in an email that "helping the homeless is a medium sized non-profit industry in San Diego County," Callstrom's conciliatory tones and bringing the topic to the table at the Council meeting has made him more proactive about the issue, even writing that he'd like to actively help with Santee's homeless count next year.
"Lastly, I would like to take you up on your invitation to participate in next year’s count, assuming my schedule is open, especially in the morning. I will work with our Sheriff’s to make sure we know where our homeless hooch’s are," wrote Mayor Voepel, in his reply to Callstrom.
The letters/emails between Mayor Voepel and Executive Director Peter Callstrom and the item submitted to the City Council can be found in the media box.