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.