Unhoused Caretaker of Point Loma Native Garden to Move On … Into a Home with Plans to Launch Bridge Between Housed and Unhoused

by on August 11, 2023 · 1 comment

in Environment, Homelessness, Ocean Beach

By Dorian Hargrove and Brian White / CBS8 / August 10, 2023

Michael Garvey rakes the dirt path at the Point Loma Native Garden in Ocean Beach. He cleans the area, removes leaves and weeds, wipes the wooden benches, and supplies treats to the dogs who go for walks in the garden. But soon, Garvey will not work at the small garden any longer.

Garvey is not a city employee who has been transferred to another job, he is a homeless senior who has been unhoused for nearly 40 years and has lived in the park for most of the past two years.

“It’s my home. It’s the home that I haven’t had. I’ve watched it grow from a dirt farm to this, it’s beautiful,” said Garvey. Next week Garvey will move into his own studio apartment. And while the 72-year-old Garvey may no longer serve as the constant caretaker, his larger mission is far from over.

For most of the past two years, Garvey has worked in hopes of bridging the gap between him and his other “outdoor neighbors” and his housed neighbors. “We’re not all the same,” said Garvey. “Everyone of us came out here for different reasons.”

With the help of Ocean Beach resident Robin Shushan, Garvey looks to launch his own website and create a non-profit called “Outside Neighbors” with the intent of establishing a line of communication between the housed and the unhoused.

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Joni Halpern August 11, 2023 at 1:07 pm

Bravo to Garvey and Shushan for opening themselves up to forming a bond of friendship that will yield results for all of us in our community. Your idea for connecting the community of housed to our outside neighbors is a great one. It should be part of our mosaic of solutions to address the isolation of people living outdoors and the fear that keeps us from lending a hand to help them.


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