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

Jason Jaeger has been homeless for more than a decade. Like many in his position, he's accumulated legal troubles along they way.

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

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

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Jacob Aere
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KPBS
Booths and a mobile shower vehicle are set up at a Homeless Resource Fair in Lakeside, Dec. 2, 2022.

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

“So what we're doing here is that if the person may have a warrant from some small infraction, or some small misdemeanor case, we can take care of all that here today,” Shelton said.

Once their records are cleared, people can take better 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 with their life, it's not working,” San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “So this model is working and we’ve seen the successes.”

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Jacob Aere
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KPBS
People pick up food and clothes from a Homeless Resource Fair in Lakeside, Dec. 2, 2022.

Jaeger is optimistic that he’ll add to the success story.

“I've tried to get jobs but they're not allowing me with the misdemeanors, I'm going to get them cleared up," he said. "So if I get them cleared up, 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 come in locations throughout the region.