Infractions against homeless in San Diego cleared in exchange for 30-day stay in shelter

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- The city of San Diego is offering help to homeless people who are facing a ticket or arrest.

They can have the infractions cleared if they agree to stay for 30 days in one of the city's shelters.

Last summer, police began offering shelter beds in lieu of citations to homeless people for minor infractions such as encroachment, illegal lodging or littering.

While about 300 people took the offer, many of them left within a day. Now, under a revised approach to the program, if somebody leaves the shelter before 30 days, the infractions will be enforced.

People who take the deal are free to come and go during the day, but they have to be in the shelter at night.

Under the program, 50 of the 128 beds at a new downtown shelter run by the Alpha Project are reserved for homeless people brought in by police.

Some advocates for people experiencing homelessness have expressed concerns about the incentive program, noting that reserving shelter beds for people brought in by police reduces the number available for others who want beds.

Homeless advocate Michael McConnell told the Associated Press he worries people who walk away from the shelter before the 30 days are over could find that prosecutors use that information against them in court.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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