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Lakeside resource fair provides people experiencing homelessness with legal help, other services

Jason Jaeger has been homeless for over a decade. Like many in his position, he has racked up legal troubles along the way.

The Homeless Resource Fair in Lakeside on Friday was a step toward clearing his record and getting help in his battle with addiction.

“I hope it opens doors for me to a different way of life,” the 32-year-old said. ‘I got some warrants, like some misdemeanors. And I was told that we could figure it out…probably also some drug rehab that I could go into.”

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Shacks and a mobile dump truck are set up at a Homeless Resource Fair in Lakeside on December 2, 2022.

Superior Court Judge Roderick Shelton has seen many people in Jaeger’s situation. He said it is crucial that they get more than just a shower and a hot meal. They also need legal help.

“So what we do here is if the person might have a warrant of some misdemeanor, or some misdemeanor case, we can take care of all of that here today,” Shelton said.

Once their records are cleared, people can better take advantage of other services. Among those at the Lakeside event were programs for health care coverage, food stamps and welfare. There were also services to replace identification documents.

“When we ask people to go to ten different places to have a fresh start in their life, it doesn’t work,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. “So this model works and we’ve seen the successes.”

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People collect food and clothing at a Homeless Resource Fair in Lakeside, Dec. 2, 2022.

Jaeger is optimistic that he will contribute to the success story.

“I’ve been trying to get a job but they won’t let me with the felonies, I’m going to get it cleared,” he said. “So if I get them cleared, I can get a job anywhere.”

This is the sixth Homeless Resource Fair held in San Diego County since November 2021. Stephan said more will be coming at locations throughout the region.

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