Shelter clears homeless infractions for free stays
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Homeless people facing a ticket or arrest by San Diego police could have the infractions cleared if they agree to stay for 30 days in one of the city’s shelters, according to a newspaper report.
The program could help stabilize lives and get people connected with services, while also allowing officers to enforce laws on the street, San Diego police Capt. Scott Wahl told the Union-Tribune.
The San Diego Police Department launched a neighborhood policing division in 2019 that includes outreach teams and officers who enforce quality-of-life laws that often involve homeless people.
Last summer, police began offering shelter beds in lieu of citations to homeless people who had been contacted for encroachment, illegal lodging, littering or other minor infractions. But while about 300 people took the offer, many of them left the shelter within a day or two, Wahl said.
The revised approach still offers shelter beds in lieu of citations, but now if somebody leaves the shelter before 30 days, the infractions will be enforced, the newspaper said.
“We’re all trying to do our part in ending homelessness, and we want to do it in a way that’s compassionate, but also has accountability,” he said.