In February 2021, an organized encampment began on South Oceanside Boulevard. The camp grew significantly in a short time, creating a public safety concern and prompting complaints from businesses and an increase in calls for service pertaining to medical needs and crime.
On April 7, 2021, the City Council approved an emergency hotel voucher program while the City establishes a permanent shelter with wrap-around services. On April 8, the Oceanside Police Department notified the encampment residents about supportive services and that the encampment would be removed after a minimum of 48 hours notice.
On April 13, the Homeless Outreach Teams, along with Housing staff and Social Workers, visited the site to enroll people in services and to began to transport them to a hotel with case management, mental health support, and help in transitioning to permanent housing.
28 people participated in the initial hotel voucher program. Three people were referred to the Exodus Whole Person Wellness program and three were connected with Cal Fresh. At days end, there were nine individuals who remained camped because current capacity in the program was reached. It is anticipated that an additional block of ten rooms will be available within a week, and those remaining people waitlisted will be offered those accommodations.
Participants have reported positive feedback. They are grateful for a warm shower, bed, and food. Multiple agencies and partners are working together to provide services on site.
While it's the City's goal to assist every homeless resident, the community impacts caused by encampments are significant, and staff across nearly every department are working on multi-pronged solutions.