A member of the San Diego Police homeless outreach team speaks to a homeless resident staying in the Midway District on Sept. 28, 2021. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

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Two San Diego City Councilmembers want to create a unit in the City Attorney’s Office focused on placing homeless residents who are unable to care for themselves in treatment and housing.

City Councilmembers Jennifer Campbell and Marni von Wilpert on Tuesday announced they want to allocate $500,000 for City Attorney Mara Elliott’s office to fund a treatment coordinator to assess individuals’ needs and two deputy city attorneys to coordinate with county officials who oversee conservatorships, make referrals and file petitions in court. 

The councilmembers’ budget proposal coincides with a wave of statewide discussion about behavioral health reforms including a controversial pitch by Gov. Gavin Newsom aiming to make it easier to order people with serious mental illnesses to seek treatment. It also coincides with increased activity already playing out on Elliott’s watch.

The San Diego County’s Public Conservator’s Office has long led the charge when it comes to recommending conservatorships and overseeing treatment and other decisions for people considered to be a danger to themselves or others, or to be deemed “gravely disabled.”

But since 2020, Elliott’s office has said city attorneys have formally made roughly a dozen referrals to the county to urge officials to pursue probate conservatorships for people the city decided couldn’t care for themselves. And von Wilpert said Tuesday that Elliott’s office is now reviewing about 20 additional cases.

Read more about their proposal here. 

Encinitas to Consider Housing Project it Previously Rejected 

A settlement has been reached over a housing project in Encinitas that the City Council rejected in November. 

The developer of Encinitas Boulevard Apartments filed a lawsuit against the city, and not long after, the State Attorney General issued a warning to Encinitas about its rejection of the project, saying the disapproval violated state law. 

The Attorney General’s office said in a letter that by rejecting the proposal, the city violated its obligation to create more fair housing.

The developer was already planning to resubmit the proposal, which is now set to go before the City Council on June 8. Under the terms of the settlement, the total number of units will be reduced from 272 units to 250 units, but the number of units set aside for low-income residents will increase from 41 to 50.

Read more about the settlement here. 

In Other News

  • Amazon announced a major expansion that will include 700 new corporate and technical jobs in San Diego, reports Times of San Diego. Its new office space is expected to open at University Town Center in early 2023.
  • Residents and local leaders are concerned over an uptick in violence at San Diego parks. Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe responded to a statement from the San Diego Police Officers Association calling on the city to address the issue. “There is a pattern of disregard for communities South of the 8, which has undoubtedly contributed to the cycle of violence in our communities,” she wrote. (10 News)
  • A proposed ballot measure would make it legal for 42 city recreation centers to offer child care services. (Union-Tribune)
  • A group of civil rights attorneys filed an emergency request in federal court this week asking a judge to order the Sheriff’s Department to make immediate changes to address care in jails. The Union-Tribune reports the filing included dozens of statements detailing deficiencies in mental health care, medical care, addiction treatment and overall jail conditions. 

This Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, Tigist Layne and Megan Wood.

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