The city of Santee, CA, is located approximately 20 miles from downtown San Diego and the Pacific Ocean. The city covers 16.5 square miles and has a population of just over 55,300 people. Santee is bisected by the San Diego River, which runs from east to west. While the city of Santee consists mostly of single-family homes and a few shopping centers there is a growing population of homeless and transit people moving into the area. It is this population that is raising some health and safety concerns for the city and residents of Santee.
The homeless population in the United States is a critical issue for both health and safety reasons. KBPS (2012) reported that in January 2012 there were 633,782 homeless people in the United States with one out of ever five of those living in California. Of the homeless population living in California 10,013 live in San Diego County. Making San Diego County rank third in homeless population in metropolitan areas in the country. While the majority of the San Diego’s homeless population lives in it downtown and ocean front areas this population has started to migrate into the suburbs of the county to include the city of Santee.
Most of the homeless population that lives in Santee lives around the San Diego River. This is mostly in part do to the large amount of brush and trees that surround the riverbed providing shelter and seclusion to them. The City of Santee (2013) estimated that 30 to 35 people are living in the riparian area along the San Diego River at any onetime with the majority of them having drug or alcohol dependency issues. The homeless people in this area are leaving behind trash, human waste, and used hypodermic needles which is raising health concerns for the city and the county.
With the large amount of homeless people that live in San Diego County there are currently not enough shelters in place to handle them all. While the city of San Diego has taken steps to try to end homelessness, like building 2,000 new housing units, they still only have enough to house about ten percent of the city’s total homeless population (World Socialist, 2013). It is this reason that many of the city’s homeless population are moving to San Diego’s neighboring cities.
The county of San Diego currently owns 15 acres of land in the middle of Santee that is used as the San Diego County women’s detention facility. This facility is currently in the middle of a $221 million dollar upgrade. The current facility has the ability to house 810 people with the new facility having the ability to house...