SAN DIEGO – A group of San Diegans are outraged after building a tiny house for a homeless man only to have police arrest him for living in it.
Lisa Kogan was among those who raised money to have the tiny home built.
“What has really hit me in my heart is there's a need out here, there's a need for people to have shelter,” Kogan said.
Kogan saw a YouTube video about a man in Los Angeles who was building tiny homes for homeless people.
“I became inspired and I got my friends behind and donated money,” Kogan said. “We built it last month. It's a little house, its moveable, it has wheels.”
Kogan wanted someone deserving. She found him.
“Red cleans up around here every day, Red's a good guy,” said Anthony Brown, who sleeps in a tent across the street from a church on 16th Street.
Red, whose real name is Michael Clark, sleeps on the streets of downtown San Diego. He also works as a deacon at the International Love Ministries of God church, which helps the homeless downtown. On Saturday, Kogan gave Red his new tiny house.
“So, Red's place ended up right here on the sidewalk, and so this is where he was sleeping when the police came,” Kogan said, pointing to a spot on the sidewalk.
Brown saw police arrest Red Tuesday morning.
“Had they written him a ticket and asked him to move the house he could have had plenty of help,” Brown said. “There was no discussion of a ticket. It was immediate handcuffs.”
“They said, ‘Well, we are going to give him two hours to move it,’” Brown explained. “Five minutes later there was a tow truck here and they took the house away.”
Police booked Red into the San Diego Jail for two misdemeanors, encroaching and lodging without consent.
“I'm outraged. When I heard the news I cried and I was upset,” Kogan said.
She still is.
“If you look all around the street, there's tents, and I don't understand why he was singled out when his house was right here on the sidewalk. And you can look down the street and across the street and there's tents everywhere.” Kogan said.
23ABC's sister station KGTV emailed San Diego police for their response. A lieutenant responded that they will be looking into the matter.