Wildomar is one of the newest as well as fastest growing cities in Orange County, indeed in all of Southern California. The population of Wildomar more than doubled between the 2000 and the 2010 census. The population of Wildomar is approximately 35,000 people and still growing.
As is the case with a majority of Southern California cities Wildomar faces challenges in addressing homelessness in the community. In attempting to develop strategies to address issues associated with homelessness, a great deal of controversy has been stirred up in Wildomar. This has been the case in the past and expected to remain the city’s status quo into the future/
Addressing Homelessness in Wildomar: A Hot Button Issue for a Dozen Years
Developing strategies for dealing with homelessness in Wildomar has been a hot button issue for a dozen years. The issue of homelessness has divided the community. In addition, a comprehensive action plan to address homelessness in Wildomar has been slow in coming – precisely because of the controversy and the sense of division within the community.
The debate heated up over a decade ago when a proposal was floated to low-income housing for homeless people in Wildomar. Neighbors near the proposed site of the low-income housing development were deeply upset with the project being in their neighborhood.
Those behind the project likely fumbled coming out of the gate when it came to the location they selected for the development. The people behind the expansive low-income housing development for homeless selected a location that was across the street from a high school, in close proximity to a private K-12 school, next to a church, and nestled in the middle of the neighborhood. On some level, the controversy surrounding this proposal illustrated (in a way) the long-used adage about real estate: it’s all about location, location, location.
There was also a perceived lack of clarity about the types of programming that would be offered to formerly homeless people living in the development. In reality, it wasn’t so much concern for the programming but for the nature of the population in the development that would require certain types of programming. In the end, the team behind the development were vague about whether the programming would include treatment from people with substance abuse or mental health issues.
In the end, this proposal joined the ranks of some others in Wildomar that were intended to assist the homeless population that never came to fruition as initially planned. What happened with this long term project proposal is exemplary of what continues to occur in Wildomar as well as in other Southern California communities.
The Growth of Homeless Encampments
The general inability to agree on more long term solutions to homelessness in Wildomar has become a contributing factor to the increase in homeless encampments in the community. This reality has brought forth something of a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” feeling among residents of the community. In other words, residents of a Wildomar neighborhood might take a stand against the development of a housing project for homeless people only to end up with homeless encampments in or around their neighborhood.
The reality is that homeless encampments typically provide a more significant potential for risk than is the case with a housing development designed for homeless people. For example, homeless encampments present health risks, not only to residents of the camps but to other people in the community. These same types of health risks are not inherent with a housing development for homeless individuals and families.
These health risks stem from unsanitary conditions at homeless encampments. For example, a typical homeless encampment lacks toilet facilities. This leaves residents of homeless encampments to defecate and urinate outside.
The level of contamination, including the presence of harmful pathogens, that can exist at a homeless encampment underscores the need for professional homeless encampment cleanup in Wildomar. A homeless encampment cleanup specialist had the background and equipment necessary to effectively and safely remediate the biohazards associated with the unsanitary conditions that oftentimes accompany this type of camp.
Lack of Homeless Shelter in Wildomar
Despite a dozen years of debate over the issue of homelessness in the community, Wildomar lacks a homeless shelter. Proposals regarding homeless shelters thus far have met the same type of fate faced by the lower income housing development discussed previously.
Path of Life Ministries at (951) 683-4101 offers an Emergency Cold Weather Program to assist homeless people in a number of local communities, including Wildomar. There are no immediate plans to add a homeless shelter to Wildomar.