SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The homelessness crisis in San Diego has been a priority for state and local leaders.
With a diverse population, there's a lot to be done to help combat the situation, and one tool is a conservatorship program for the homeless. While there's no plan in place yet, some are excited while some say it's not the solution.
"This year, I’m pushing for state action on conservatorships," San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said in his State of the City address on Wednesday.
Conservatorships in which a court appointed conservator manages another person's living situation, medical decisions, and mental health treatment – has gotten support from both Mayor Todd Gloria and Governor Gavin Newsom.
"We have more treatment programs, more conservatorships," said Gov. Newsom.
However, San Diego attorney Scott Dreher, who has worked with homeless people for over 20-years says it may not be the answer.
He says the issue and solution is too complex.
In San Diego, it’s extremely difficult to get a conservatorship, according to experts. It requires a judge’s order and there are limited conservatorships, and a family member must be present.
"Anyone who thinks that ‘oh, we’ll just put everyone in a conservatorship’ and that’ll take care of that…that’s never going to happen, that’s not the way around this," said Dreher.
Dreher says while it may be a solution for some people, there are more pressing things that could help. "What's going to solve the problem is giving people a place to be that may not have a place to be," said Dreher.
Mayor Gloria and Dreher both say housing is the biggest issue to combat homelessness.
"The shortage of homes every day San Diegans can afford is splitting up families," said Mayor Gloria.
But there’s also the issue of being mindful and compassionate towards the homeless population,
Amie Zamudio is the homeless outreach director with “Housing 4 The Homeless” and says there are no simple solutions.
"What we’re seeing is there are some people who cannot take care of
themselves and no matter how much support we offer, they refuse
support,” said Zamudio. “They just can’t take care of themselves it’s
not humane to leave people out on these streets to decay and die."