Seeking solutions for Calexico’s homeless crisis, the city Homeless Committee initiated by Mayor Bill Hodge was scheduled to hold its first meeting on Aug. 27.
The meeting at city hall was not open to the public and this newspaper’s deadline prevented a full report on its results.
Hodge said he created the committee himself, without council approval, since the council has been dark for the entire month of August.
“Homelessness is a complex problem that is multi-faceted and has to be approached in different ways to get more of a holistic understanding of the homeless condition,” Hodge said during a recent interview.
The newly formed committee’s “purpose is to bring a varied amount of stakeholders together to listen to each other, see what each has to offer, to see each organization’s expertise … and work on possible solutions,” Hodge added.
Hodge said he invited various stakeholders, including Catholic Charities of the Diocese of San Diego (that includes Imperial County), which runs the men’s homeless shelter in Calexico; the nonprofit Brown Bag Coalition, which formed several years ago to feed the city’s homeless; Imperial County Behavioral Health Services; Calexico Police Department; and physician Tien T. Vo, who operates clinics in El Centro and Calexico and who Hodge said previously approached the city about offering his help to the homeless community.
The first meeting was expected to mostly involve introductions, Hodge added.
The city’s homeless, who have concentrated at Rockwood Plaza in recent years, were moved out of the park near Heber Avenue and Fourth Street recently due to grass re-seeding, Hodge said. They have now started gathering in Border Park downtown and other locations, he added.
Hodge said the Brown Bag Coalition, which had been feeding the homeless daily at 6 p.m. at Heber Avenue and Third Street, is to begin serving the homeless their meals near Border Park starting Sept. 1.