Lompoc police chief asks community to help the homeless amid housing crisis

Posted at 7:07 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-17 22:07:14-04

Continuing to pursue giving a hand up and not a handout, Lompoc’s Chief of Police Pat Walsh has been on the front lines of the city’s riverbed issues, going into the riverbed every day for the last 30 days.

Now that close to 60 people have been successfully relocated to the new triage center, Chief Walsh is trying to help these people find a roof over their heads while housing is in such a shortage.

“I’m happy for the numbers. It’s a lot more than we anticipated. It’s a lot of people to help but that’s exactly what we’re trying to do. The biggest part of this issue is there is no housing. Even people that have vouchers for Section 8 housing, there’s no place to use that voucher so it’s kind of frustrating for the people we’re trying to help,” Chief Walsh explained.

Walsh is hoping to get people across the Central Coast to open their homes to the people leaving the riverbed.

“We wouldn’t just say here’s the person. There would have to be some compatibility and obviously anybody that was [coming off of drugs], that wouldn’t make sense. We’re not gonna put somebody that has an addiction problem into your home,” Walsh said.  

Walsh says communities like Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Ventura have similar programs where neighbors have done this, but KSBY was unable to confirm that so far.

We asked people in Lompoc if they would be willing to open their homes to the homeless.

“If they’re on the right road to recovery and fulfilling their lives in a more positive way, especially if they have little ones, I think that could benefit their families in a positive way as long there wasn’t any drugs involved,” said Lompoc resident, Brenda Dubey.

“For me it’s hard. I got kids. I just can’t let anybody come back in my home. I gotta think about family first. I’m totally for helping them but maybe in a different way,” said Letisia Escalante, a Lompoc resident.

If you are interested in opening up your home, you’re asked to call the Lompoc Police Department. If that’s not something that interests you, Chief Walsh says the triage center is in need of warm clothes, water and snacks.