O.B. Stickers + Dialogue = Progress

by on July 7, 2010 · 5 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Ocean Beach, San Diego

by Peter Callstrom / Regional Task Force on Homeless / Special to the OB Rag

Kudos to Ocean Beach! This progressive community held a forum last night to proactively address homelessness in their community. A diverse and overflow crowd gathered to constructively dialogue, listen, and find common ground. A number of persons who are homeless were in attendance and actively participated in the discussion. There are no easy answers, but dialogue is so critical: to build understanding, empathy, and ideas. Wisely, more forums are planned.

The Blacks’ “Don’t Feed Our Bums” sticker, as well as the Regional Task Force on the Homeless’ alternative sticker, “Together We End Homelessness” have raised awareness of the growing problem of homelessness in this small seaside community. Stickers have garnered attention – now, let’s turn that into more action – throughout our region.

Ocean Beach’s concern is not unique in the San Diego region. As we recently reported, our region has experienced a 7.8% increase in the last year (8,506 counted), according to our annual ‘Point In Time’ count. In addition, the count reflected a 12% increase in persons who are not in a shelter, that is, living on the street, in parks, behind buildings or in other places not meant for human habitation. Nationally, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, it is estimated that approximately 670,000 are homeless on any given night. In the course of a year, thousands more experience homelessness for some period of time.

Enabling people to leave the street benefits everyone. Whether one believes that there is a moral imperative, there is an enormous economic benefit. Los Angeles found that placing four chronically homeless people into permanent supportive housing saved the city more than $80,000 per year. All fiscal studies have reinforced the tremendous societal economic benefit to solving homelessness.

With such daunting numbers, how can we solve homelessness, or at least, alleviate this extraordinary problem? Solutions involve affordable housing, employment, health care, social service providers, shelters, and much more – all tremendous challenges on their own. However, despite the rise in the count, thanks to the commitment and passion of countless individuals and organizations throughout our community, we are making progress. If not for the efforts of many, and the heroic efforts of dozens of direct service providers in our County, the problem could be far worse.

To make significant progress, we can all learn from the action taken in Ocean Beach – in the end, homelessness is a local/community issue. Working together, we WILL make a difference and help those who are homeless to return to a life of dignity.

Peter Callstrom is the Executive Director of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

jim g July 7, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I was at the forum and found it very interesting. A very large diverse group …However all agree on several things. Ocean Beach is a great place to live. Ocean Beach has a problem with homeless services, housing, bathrooms food etc…
The questions we spent so much time on bear this out.
In my peace circle was a young guy we will call James, at the end of the 2 hours James makes the comment “we need services and a bigger better community center”. He said the homeless need bathrooms, cots etc ….So I paraphrased what I had learned earlier in the day from Mr. Callstrom : I told James ” there are 50 or so organizations that are extremely dedicated, Father Joes, Rescue Mission, Alpha Project to name a few” these might not be in Ocean Beach but they are avalible I said , he looked bummed out….I then told him another thing I learned yesterday from Mr. Callstrom ” So if we can steer them to the providers we have in the community”

So here we have it Wait on the City to build new centers or use what is exisiting…its up to the homeless to accept help. It may not be in OB where they can ” do what they want and act how they want” But help is out there !!
The City has no money , City Councilman for OB did not even show up despite the issue being on the FRONT page of the UT several times and on EVERY news station for 2 weeks now !!! Note to Homeless : Do Not Wait on City Hall. It is not going to happen. Take the help yes it might mean you have to move to WHERE the Services are….it is what it is !


doug porter July 7, 2010 at 2:35 pm

the city has no money because they’re stealing it from funds to help the homeless to put up flowerpots in little italy.


OB_Warzone July 7, 2010 at 4:22 pm

“Together We End Bums …….Please Don’t Feed Our Homelessness “


jim g July 7, 2010 at 5:41 pm

It does not matter the where’s, why’s or anything ele. The point is services are already avalible Peter C. made that VERY clear on the radio the other morning….
He also said the Task Regional Task Force does NOT condone panhandling in any form. So he does agree with the residents of OB on this….
The City is not going to get shelters in OB ….the homeless will need to go to the services, they are avalible.


Kenloc July 7, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Services like that usually require the person to be and remain sober. not hard to imagine why many of them don’t go


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