Gerald (Gerry) Kostiha makes flutes from pipe.
Gerald (Gerry) Kostiha makes flutes from pipe. He has been living at the Magnolia encampment with his dog Lumpy for four months. / Photo by Peggy Peattie for Voice of San Diego

In a letter to county leaders, Supervisor Joel Anderson requested the county begin to clear a homeless encampment on North Magnolia Avenue in an unincorporated portion of El Cajon. He cited a recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision that supported Caltrans’ clearing of a Berkeley homeless encampment and called for similar action to be taken at the Magnolia encampment.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs argued those living in the Berkeley encampment were not being offered anywhere else to go, and that the move may end up disconnecting them from the services they received at the encampment and ultimately losing the progress they’d made toward finding housing.

The Magnolia encampment has been in the news off and on for months. Voice intern Jakob McWhinney spent time with many of its residents and wrote about their experiences in a March story that detailed the county’s push to direct more resources and services to homeless residents in East County. These include increased outreach to those living on the street and finding new locations for temporary and long-term housing. Anderson also recently proposed a memorandum of understanding between several East County cities to allow for a more coordinated response to homelessness in the region.

The supervisor touted the efforts the county has made over the past two months to connect people living at the Magnolia encampment to resources, which he said has led to over 60 people being connected with housing services. But, he said, due to the large number of people who remained at the encampment, further action needed to be taken.

“We cannot wait for someone to be injured or killed by a car before we take the next step to clear the tents that remain on this busy, dangerous street,” Anderson wrote in a corresponding press release.

Jakob McWhinney

Jakob McWhinney is Voice of San Diego's education reporter.

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1 Comment

  1. If inflation continues to rise unabated, and the number of homeless continue to increase unchecked, within the next few years, a significant number of us all will be “living rough” in San Diego County.

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