Vista Mayor: 94% Of Homeless Refuse Help Due To Addiction And Mental Illness

Mayor John Franklin recently said that 94% of his city’s homeless population refuse help due to struggles with addiction and mental illness. In an interview with KGTV-TV, Franklin discussed the homeless crisis that is getting much worse in Vista, California — a city that has seen this population double in the past year.

“Some of them we’ve asked twenty times and developed relationships with,” Franklin said. “And we’ve asked them if they would come and accept a safe warm bed here, three hot meals a day, a hot shower, clean clothes, and unfortunately, because of mental illness and addiction, the answer is, ‘We don’t want to come.'”

The city’s new Buena Vista Navigation Center, a shelter designed to provide services and guide residents toward permanent housing, has seen early success. But Franklin says the real hard part is convincing people to accept help.

Retread Executive Director Hannah Gailey expressed surprise at the dramatic increase in Vista’s homeless population. “I know it’s true. I believe it’s true, but it is shocking to me that so many people have become homeless in the last year,” she said.

“I think people would be surprised by how ordinary their unhoused neighbors are, that it is not always extraordinary circumstances that leave people unsheltered,” she added.