OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — City of Oceanside crews have cleared a stretch of a homeless encampment, and in its place, left a pile of rocks.
Wednesday morning, crews bulldozed what was left of a homeless encampment on South Oceanside boulevard. Tuesday, more than a dozen police officers led the charge to clean up the area. Twenty-eight people were given three-week hotel vouchers, and Oceanside Police say their property was tagged and is now being held by the city.
"They could've just sent a half a dozen social workers and accomplished it much, much better without the intimidation of the police," homeless advocate, Michael McConnell said. "The city didn't come prepared."
McConnell said there are still nine individuals who are in tents. After bulldozing the area, city workers placed piles of rocks in the now-vacated area.
"People are on the streets because they don't have a home. Throwing up rocks isn't a solution," McConnell said.
Just before the 2016 All-Star game, the City of San Diego used the same tactic to deter the homeless from returning to an underpass downtown. The controversial move cost the city $57,000, and it was highly criticized by homeless advocates, saying it was inhumane.
"We want real solutions, and we want them to be humane and effective," McConnell said. "We don't want any city in San Diego County wasting taxpayer money."
Earlier this week, Oceanside city staff said a string of overdoses and violent crimes led to the action. Wednesday, they sent a link to their homeless outreach website, which states that those who received hotel vouchers on Tuesday were given access to different services and referred to a wellness program. An additional ten rooms will be available within the week for the remaining folks on South Oceanside Blvd.
"You have to hold the City of Oceanside accountable, at least for the folks that they got into the hotel rooms. To make sure that they don't drop the ball and those folks just end up back here on the street," McConnell said.
The City of Oceanside is planning to open a transitional homeless shelter with wrap-around services. Officials are now accepting proposals from potential shelter operators and hope to select one by June.