Frequently Asked Questions
1. What can I do about the homeless camps in the open field areas near my house?
It depends on whether the camps are on private property or publicly-owned land. If the camps are on public lands, camping in parks and open fields is prohibited within the city limits. If this is the case you can call Code Enforcement at (619) 691-5280 or contact the Police Department on the non-emergency line (619) 691-5151. If the land is private property, it is up to the owner of the property to address the issue through trespassing laws. All of the information regarding trespassing laws can be accessed through the trespass information site.
2. Is panhandling legal?
Yes, panhandling is legal as long as it is done in a location where the subject has a legal right to be, and is not done within 500 feet of a freeway access ramp.
3. Is it legal for people to have shopping carts away from the stores. Isn't that stolen property?
While it is theoretically illegal, due to case law regarding property belonging to homeless persons it is not logistically possible to prosecute for this offense.
4. Are there resources for the homeless in the City of Chula Vista? There are numerous resources available for the homeless in terms of general support and also for the purpose of helping them off the street. These resources can be accessed here.
5. What's being done? The City of Chula Vista and the Police Department recognize the nature and existence of homeless-related public safety issues and have created the Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) to address these issues in a manner that balances the needs of residents, businesses, and the homeless.
6. Is the homeless problem getting worse in the City of Chula Vista?
Homelessness is a nationwide problem and is on the rise in southern California. San Diego County has the second highest homeless population in the state. The City of Chula Vista has taken a proactive approach to addressing the homeless population in our community. We continue to try to come up with creative solutions in reducing the number of homeless in our community by connecting them to resources and services addressing the root cause of their homelessness.
7. Are the homeless dangerous?
It would be unfair to characterize an entire group of people as either dangerous or safe. That being said, there are certain concrete factors, such as drug use, that sometimes lead to persons becoming homeless. Homeless persons should be treated with the same amount of dignity and respect as anyone else; however, it is also a good idea to keep a safe distance if you are concerned by a homeless person's behavior. If you have a concern about a homeless person, feel free to contact the Police Department on the non-emergency line at (619) 691-5151.
8. Is it illegal for anyone to take recycling items out of my bins that I have placed on the curb for pickup? Yes, this is illegal. If you witness this occurring do not confront the subject. Call the Police Department's non-emergency line at (619) 691-5151.
9. The homeless have taken over the parks and it is difficult for my family to spend time at the parks. What can we do? The homeless fall under the same rules and guidelines as anyone else in our local parks. Drinking alcohol, urinating in public, and overnight camping are all prohibited. However, there is no law against homeless persons spending large portions of the day in the park, or taking up any number of tables, or other park resources.
10. I see homeless people drinking in public, is that illegal? Yes, drinking in public is illegal and covered by municipal code 9.15.010. If you witness this occurring do not confront the subject. Call the Police Department's non-emergency line at (619) 691-5151.
11. What about drinking alcohol in parks? Alcohol consumption is not permitted in any city park that has signs that prohibit alcohol consumption. In parks that are not posted with these signs, alcohol consumption is not permitted between 8:00 p.m. - 7:00 a.m. from April to October, and between 7:00 p.m. - 7:00 a.m. from November to March.