San Clemente homeless encampment raises concerns for residents

The temporary homeless encampment on Avenida Pico (Photo by Noah C.)

By: Noah Canfield and Faith Haas | Writers

September 6, 2019

A few months ago, North Beach was one of the sketchiest places to be any time of the day because of the ridiculous amount of homeless people camped out by the train tracks. Many parents complained since they bring their children there to play on the swings. A once known fun place had become a very dangerous environment.

“Personally when I go on runs by the outlets, there have been a few times where I’ve felt a little uncomfortable because of homeless people over by that park doing crazy stuff and acting weird,” San Clemente High School junior Harlee Links said. “It sucks for the people who live over there in Sea Summit because that was made after they bought some three million dollar house.”

The city of San Clemente was forced to listen after a lawsuit about how it’s a human right to have housing. A temporary encampment for the homeless has been built to appease the citizens and the homeless advocates. However, locals feel that the encampment enables homelessness since the only rule there at the camp is proving San Clemente residency.

Some believe that many homeless people traveled over to the camp because it has become more of a vacation than anything else for them; who wouldn’t want beachfront vista? However, there has been recent clean-outs for the camp, but nothing has actually changed besides the confirmation that the “residents” have drug paraphernalia and alcohol.

“They get an ocean view for free,” junior Tara Jaramillo said, which angers her because her parents have to pay for a house without a beautiful view of the ocean.

Although it seems that the problem has mostly been solved, there are still cons to this camp. The homeless are able to leave whenever they want and walk around, which often leads to them causing trouble. Locals continue to complain because of the many uncomfortable situations they’ve been in.

A few of these campers have bikes and tend to ride on the roads, causing very big safety concerns to everybody including themselves. Others roam the streets at night yelling and talking to nobody, sometimes even scaring the locals by randomly approaching them.

The encampment is not supposed to be permanent, however the City of San Clemente is still deciding where to build a homeless shelter. Hopefully, the city will follow through.

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