California Offers Free ID to Homeless People

July 2, 2015 by Christine Schanes
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By Christine Schanes

As of July 1st, a homeless person, child or youth born in the State of California can get a free certified birth certificate from the county of their birth. And as of January 1, 2016, a homeless person, child or youth will be able to get a free new or replacement California photo identification card from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

These public records fee waivers were provided during the 2013-14 California legislative session by the passage of Assembly Bill 1733 whose primary author was former Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and whose joint authors were Speaker of the Assembly Toni G. Atkins and Assemblymember Brian Maienschein.

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The Giving of End-of-Life Care to Ocean Beach Homeless Woman

May 30, 2013 by Christine Schanes

KLC6Res150-300x200By Christine Schanes

There is one certainty in life – we are all going to die. How and where we die are the only issues.

Will we die quickly or have a lingering death? We don’t know. However, most of us housed people are pretty sure we will die indoors in some health facility or in our own home. In fact, some of us buy insurance so that we are assured of the particular standard of care and facility we prefer in our last days.

However, what about unsheltered homeless people? They live outside and very likely will die outside.

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Homelessness: NIMBYism

February 12, 2013 by Christine Schanes

NIMBY is the abbreviation of the phrase, “Not In My BackYard.” It is a term used to describe the negative emotional reaction that some of us experience when we fear that other people, who belong in a group other than the group to which we align ourselves, may live near or among us.

NIMBYism is the term used as a noun as in the sentence, “Group homes for people with severe mental challenges are not welcome in this neighborhood because of the NIMBYism of its residents.”

The focus of NIMBYism can be any race, economic class or any basis upon which similarly situated people can be distinguished from other groups.

The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that the first known use of this term was in 1980. However, the negative emotional response to people unlike ourselves living in our neighborhoods developed long before its use in everyday parlance.

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Homelessness Myth #25: Here a homeless, there a homeless …

October 19, 2012 by Christine Schanes

For some time now, we have been aware of homelessness in our midst. In the 50’s, we called people without homes, “hobos.” The hobos were generally men who we believed chose the free and easy lifestyle of riding railroad cars and doing odd jobs for housed country folk in exchange for sandwiches.

In fact, the lives of hobos were romanticized through movies, including “Emperor of the North,” staring Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine.

Today, the fastest growing segment of the homeless population is families, including single mothers with their children. I don’t know anyone who believes that families choose a homeless lifestyle. There is nothing free and easy about their homelessness. And there are no romantic movies being made about their plight.

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Homelessness Myth#24: They All Frequent Bars

July 30, 2012 by Christine Schanes
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We’re all aware that the United States economy is going through some hard times. A number of businesses are experiencing financial down turns. Some housed people believe that all homeless people spend a great deal of time hanging out in bars and, by their very presence in those bars, negatively impact those businesses.

But do all homeless people really hang out in bars? To answer this question, I asked a number of people who have experienced homelessness whether they frequent bars and, if so, what have their experiences have been.

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The New Morena District Certified Farmers’ Market Opens !

June 22, 2012 by Christine Schanes
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From San Diego Free Press

The new Morena District Certified Farmers’ Market opened Tuesday, June 19, 2012, from 3 – 7pm with 75 booths exhibiting the wares of 45 vendors to the delight of a crowd estimated by Brian Beevers, Market Manager, to be approximately 3,000 people!

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Homelessness and Hand-to-Hand Combat

June 5, 2012 by Christine Schanes

by Christine Schanes / San Diego Free Press / June 4, 2012

Violence: Is it caused by nature or nurture? I have often wondered why people hit each other in physical, hand-to-hand fights. And when people are homeless, living bereft of everything, why doesn’t the fighting stop?

To find out about the nature of violence among homeless people, I asked a 48 year old man who lives on the streets why he fights.

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Homelessness Myth #23: They Have Too Much Food To Eat

May 30, 2012 by Christine Schanes
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“They have too much food to eat.”

Really? Do some housed people really believe that homeless people have too much food to eat? Actually, yes. And they provide what they consider the evidence:

“Of course they have too much food to eat. See how fat they are!”

This myth leaves me stunned because I believe its falsehood is obvious. I’ve had the privilege to work with people in need for over twenty years. Sadly, in all of that time, I have never known a homeless person who was able to eat three healthy meals a day. Really.

As we all know, obesity is an American epidemic. Whether we are housed or homeless, many authorities agree that our diet of high-calorie, unhealthy foods contributes to our obesity. It would appear that many housed people are neither utilizing their kitchens to prepare nutritious foods, nor making healthy food choices at restaurants. Homeless people may have similar nutritional challenges, but for different reasons.

On May 25, 2012, the San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless reported in “A Point-In-Time Assessment of Homelessness In San Diego County – 2012,” that there are a total of 9,641 homeless people within the county.

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Homelessness Myth #22: ‘They Have Enough Money’

May 23, 2012 by Christine Schanes
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Do homeless people need money? Of course, housed or unhoused, we all need money. Some housed people believe that homeless people have enough money to get what they need.

However, do homeless people really have enough money to get what they need? I think not. For example, one of the most important things that any person needs is government-issued identification. People need this ID for many reasons, including to get a job, housing, food stamps (after the first month), healthcare, a bank account as well as to get married.

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Why We Should Care About the Death of Kelly Thomas

May 11, 2012 by Christine Schanes

At around 8:30 pm the evening of July 5, 2011, Kelly Thomas, a 37 year old, mentally ill homeless man, was in the parking lot of the Fullerton bus depot when he was approached by police officers. Approximately 33 minutes later, Kelly was unconscious and taken to the hospital where five days later he was pronounced dead.

What happened in that bus depot parking lot? Can we learn anything from the death of Kelly Thomas? Why should we care about the death of one homeless person?

We know a great many details of the last minutes of Kelly?s conscious life because they were captured on video tapes, including the following video available through youtube.

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Homelessness – Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

April 27, 2012 by Christine Schanes
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Homelessness, a challenge composed of many issues, spans our globe. Because homeless people seem to be everywhere, many of us feel that homelessness is too big an issue to be solved. And because of the complexity of the issues of homelessness, we may feel too overwhelmed to affect change.

Sometimes we use these feelings of powerlessness as excuses for failing to develop plans or to take any action to help homeless people. Thus, our feelings can literally create a paralysis in our thinking and acting to end homelessness.

Actually, we needn?t feel overwhelmed by the challenge of homelessness. We have conquered major issues before. Do you remember when we felt that the issues of reducing waste and protecting our environment were overwhelming? We adopted the slogan, “Think Globally, Act Locally,” which reminds us to address these global concerns by reducing, reusing and recycling discarded items at a local level. Educational facilities encouraged its students to educate their families. Through common practice, we accepted our civic responsibility to protect our planet.

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Homelessness – A Test of True Compassion

April 20, 2012 by Christine Schanes

Many of us believe that we are compassionate people. But are we really? Webster?s New Collegiate Dictionary formally defines “compassion,” as the “sympathetic consciousness of others? distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” In our daily lives, some people think of compassion as “love in action.” Many religions encourage us to strive to be compassionate people and admonish us to “love our neighbor.”

Personally, I believe that we are all, with the possible exception of a very few, born with compassion. Thus, for most of us, the quality of compassion is already within ourselves from birth – we need only to find and awaken our compassion. Further, as we live our lives, we can choose to nurture and expand this quality, as we are encouraged by many religions, if not all, to do.

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The Dalai Lama Comes to San Diego

April 19, 2012 by Christine Schanes
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His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet began his first official visit to San Diego yesterday – April 18th, by offering two parts of his three-part symposium, “Compassion Without Borders: Science, Peace, Ethics” by taking part in a panel discussion entitled “The Global Impact of Climate Change” at University of California, San Diego and by giving a public talk entitled, “Cultivating Peace and Justice.”

Today – the 19th of April -, the Dalai Lama will complete his San Diego symposium at San Diego State University by giving the public talk entitled, “Upholding Universal Ethics and Compassion in Challenging Times.”

At the University of San Diego, President Mary E. Lyons presented the Dalai Lama with the USD Medal of Peace. At the USD Jenny Craig Pavilion before a full house, the Dalai Lama spoke about peace, compassion and nonviolence. He asked what is the meaning of peace? Is it the absence of trouble or violence?

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“We All Count”- the Annual San Diego Homeless Tally in Ocean Beach

January 30, 2012 by Christine Schanes
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At 4am, on Friday morning January 27th, hundreds of volunteers left dozens of deployment centers throughout San Diego to count homeless people. Called, “We All Count,” this annual enumeration of homeless people in San Diego is run by the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has mandated that beginning in 2005, agencies receiving HUD funding needed to count the homeless people in their cities on a bi-annual basis.

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In Memory Of Homeless Advocate Larry Dean Milligan

December 28, 2011 by Christine Schanes
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Editor: Larry Dean Milligan was a champion of homeless people in San Diego. Through his efforts and the efforts of his partner, Johanna Argoud, the lawsuit, Spencer v. San Diego was filed in 2004 and settled in 2007. (and then modified 11/10) The settlement in Spencer protected homeless people from fines and arrests relating to sleeping in public – a very important settlement for thousands of homeless people in San Diego. Below is a conversation between Christine Schanes and Johanna Argoud.

Christine: On July 14, 2011, your partner, Larry Dean Milligan, champion of homeless people, passed. You seem content despite your loss.

Johanna: Yes, you could say that. I feel that his life is such a gift to me. And despite the physical separation from Lar, I don’t have the feeling of being without him, unless I choose to. I can always have that joy of being with Lar, a feeling of being even closer than in our physical life together, if I so choose.

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Homelessness Myth #21: They’re All Happy-Go-Lucky

November 17, 2011 by Christine Schanes
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Some housed people believe that homeless people don’t have a care in the world. They think that because many homeless people don’t appear to work, that life on the streets is carefree. Truly, nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that homeless people have extremely challenging lives for a host of reasons, some obvious, some not so obvious. Sometimes, many times, these challenges, be they physical, mental and/or spiritual, feel overwhelming to homeless people. Without resources to get help, many homeless people succumb to the pressure of these challenges and are anything but “happy-go-lucky.”

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An Unsung Hero of San Diego’s Homeless, Sally Dunn, M.S., LMFT

October 13, 2011 by Christine Schanes
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“Have you met Sally… Sally Dunn? You’ve got to meet her. Sally’s amazing,” said Ed.

“Yeah, she’s helping so many of us homeless people living in the riverbed that we call her, ‘Saint Sally,’” chimed in his pal, Lane.

I was immediately intrigued by the enthusiastic heart-felt respect that my homeless clients felt for Sally Dunn, licensed mental health clinician for the San Diego County Homeless Team. In the world of homelessness, relationships built on trust and respect are few and far between. Yet, often these relationships are vital for homeless people’s recoveries. When homeless people trust service providers, they can make real progress quickly. When their respect is reciprocated, they usually know it.

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In Celebration of Larry Dean Milligan, September 23, 1946 – July 14, 2011

August 1, 2011 by Christine Schanes
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It has been said that “a man is known by the company he keeps.” And Larry Dean Milligan kept excellent company – from his dear friends who are lawyers, business people and advocates, to the homeless men, women and children whom he befriended and championed, to his partner, Johanna Argoud, and their family whom he loved with all his heart.

For over 20 years, Larry worked tirelessly with Johanna and wonderful colleagues in San Diego to help homeless people in many ways, including giving food to satisfy their hunger, fighting for shelter to protect them from the elements and working for public toilets for their personal hygiene and dignity.

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Homelessness Myth #20: They Make Millions

May 18, 2011 by Christine Schanes
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“Well, maybe homeless people don’t make millions, but they certainly make thousands,” some housed people say. The myth that homeless people make millions or thousands of dollars is a myth of gigantic proportions. This myth incorporates the mistaken belief that homeless people make big money by trading on their homelessness. This myth is simply not true.

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Are Homeless People Human?

March 30, 2011 by Christine Schanes
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My homeless friend, Larry, was upset as recounted his recent experience: “The other day I went to McDonald’s, bought a coffee and went outside to sit, drink my coffee and have a cigarette. But, they wouldn’t let me. ?Move-along,’ they said, ?you can’t stay here.’ All I wanted to do was sit and have my coffee and a cigarette. And I had bought their coffee!”

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How Homeless People Feel About Having Identification

March 14, 2011 by Christine Schanes
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Homeless people need identification documentation for the same reasons that housed people need ID:  to prove who they are, to become eligible for services and for their own self-esteem. My previous article, The Trifecta of Identification, set forth the numerous steps that it takes anyone to get ID.  For a person without a home or resources, […]

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The Trifecta of Identification – Navigating the Bureaucratic Maze

March 11, 2011 by Christine Schanes
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When a homeless person has a certified copy of his/her birth certificate, a state-issued photo identification card (or driver’s license) and an original social security card, he/she possesses “The Trifecta of Identification.” Having possession of these three forms of ID is often the threshold issue for a homeless person to access many services. In order to receive needed identification documentation, a homeless person may have to overcome numerous hurdles.

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Arson for the Humanitarian?

February 18, 2011 by Christine Schanes
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At 5 am on Friday morning, January 11th, flames rising from Bianca Koch’s red 1991 BMW convertible lit up the alley between Narragansett Avenue and Niagara Street in Ocean Beach.   Luckily, the fire department was able to put out the blaze before it could spread to nearby structures.   While the cause of the fire is […]

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Homelessness Myth #19: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

February 9, 2011 by Christine Schanes

Imagine for a moment the image of a homeless person.  How do you feel?  Are you imagining someone you respect? Many of us do not respect homeless people.  And by “us,” I mean “housed people.” Often, having respect for homeless people is only a myth. At home with our families, at work surrounded by colleagues, […]

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Homelessness Myth #18: The Police Will Solve It

January 27, 2011 by Christine Schanes
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By Christine Schanes

Homeless is first and foremost a social service issue. In other words, homelessness can be and will be resolved through the work of compassionate individuals and social service agencies, be they nonprofit organizations or government agencies. Nevertheless, the myth exists that homelessness is primarily a police issue.

If homelessness is truly a social service issue, why is police activity often seen as the ultimate solution to ending homelessness?

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Homelessness Myth #17: They Flock for Services

January 12, 2011 by Christine Schanes

by Christine Shanes / Huffington Post / Originally posted Jan. 10, 2011 In my opinion, the popular myth that homeless people “flock” to any particular city to take advantage of its services is cruel. This myth is espoused by some housed people, including some people in positions of political power in certain municipalities. They argue […]

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Homelessness Myth #16: Helping Infantilizes Homeless People

December 7, 2010 by Christine Schanes
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by Christine Schanes / HuffingtonPost / December 6, 2010 The myth that helping a homeless person makes him/her dependent, in other words, “infantilizes” him/her, is sometimes used as a rationale not to help a person in need. I believe the concepts that are being confused in this myth are the concepts of “helping” another person […]

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