During the first three months of the fiscal year, the City of Carlsbad transitioned 16 people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing, made 28 shelter placements, cleaned up encampments, and updated city laws to address camping, aggressive panhandling and other quality of life concerns.
The city’s homeless response team shared this progress Tuesday during a quarterly update on the City Council’s goal to reduce homelessness. Part of that goal included providing regular updates to ensure progress was being tracked and efforts adjusted as needed.
The report shows the city met all the first-quarter objectives in its 2021-22 Homeless Goal Work Plan. The plan lays out long-term strategies for reducing homelessness in Carlsbad, including
- Adding more homeless outreach officers and social workers
- Working with others in the region to ensure Carlsbad is filling gaps not duplicating services
- Creating an emergency hotel voucher program
- Working with Catholic Charities to expand the La Posada shelter
- Exploring how to utilize new state funding through Project Homekey to create interim or permanent housing
Public safety and quality of life
About 9 percent of all calls to the Carlsbad Police Department between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2021, were for issues related to homelessness. In September, the City Council approved an ordinance updating the city’s municipal code to address quality of life issues related to homelessness and public spaces. The changes took effect Nov. 11, so the effects of the new laws were not included in the first quarterly report.
Among other things, the changes prohibit camping on public or private property, storing or leaving personal property unattended in public areas during certain times of days, and cooking on public property unless it’s in an authorized area. (A person camping on public property can only be cited if they are offered temporary shelter and refuse it.)
Offenses outlined in the ordinance are chargeable as misdemeanors, though police officers can use their discretion to issue warnings and citations.