Homelessness

What’s New from District 2 Council Office – by Councilwoman Jen Campbell

October 25, 2019 by Source

By Dr. Jen Campbell

Hello neighbors!

Though it may feel like summer, fall is here. We’ve done a lot of great work for San Diego in my 10+ months on the job, but perhaps the most important issue facing San Diego was the focus of a City Council meeting a few weeks ago. That’s when we got our first look at the new strategic plan to address homelessness.

Fixing our unsheltered crisis has long been a top priority for my office. As a physician, I deeply understand the health risks of homelessness. From veterans living in their cars, young families sleeping on the street to more and more seniors ending up without a roof over their heads. The health ramifications for our unsheltered population are horrifying.

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Winter Is Coming and Vets for Peace Still Provide Sleeping Bags to People Who Are Homeless

October 14, 2019 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

When my husband Bob was alive, he was a member of the local Veterans for Peace Organization (as well as a docent for the Star of India). He has been gone a little over ten years and as a memorial to him I made a donation to the VFP to purchase sleeping bags for those that are less fortunate than I am in that I have a warm bed, heat, and three meals a day.

Whatever the reason may be that there are so many homeless in San Diego, the fact is that the numbers are mind-boggling.

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What You Can Do Besides Being an OB Vigilante

October 3, 2019 by Staff

By Brett Warnke

John Brady, a local advocate who has experienced homelessness in his own past, is the Director of Advocacy for the Voices of Our City Choir. He’s on the YIGBY task force focused on faith-based properties to build affordable and low-income housing for people in need.

He doesn’t take my own adversarial approach to local anti-homeless vigilante groups, but he says he supports people who want to keep their communities safe. He also doesn’t know much about the anti-homeless groups quoted in a recent mediocre, poorly written profile by Channel 8’s Abbie Alford.

However, Brady does see a need for informed interdictions regarding unsheltered people.

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Shame on you, Channel 8: An OB Media Criticism of Journalistic Mediocrity

October 3, 2019 by Staff

By Brett Warnke

In a sloppy, half-baked under-sourced brief, Channel 8’s Abbie Alford became San Diego’s publicist for the worst quarter of Ocean Beach, a vigilante group of homeless-haters.

Characterizing the group in her story as “fed up with troublemaking homeless,” Ms. Alford’s first paragraph claims the so-called “community group” puts “troublemakers on notice.” She includes a bland statement from Jen Campbell’s office and a series of tactics and quotes by the group as well as a smiling picture of them.

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Reader Rant: ‘The Good, Bad and Ugly of Ocean Beach’ – Here’s the ‘Ugly’

September 23, 2019 by Staff

By Brett Warnke

THE UGLY: As much as I adore Ocean Beach, I think the old bitch is finished. Maybe I’m a doom freak, a pessimist or just don’t know my neighborhood. But I think the divisions and contradictions are just too great.

In a way, it’s the same song as the rest of the country: People want cheap junk from Target but they want local business. They want a hip edge-y vibrant community with no drugs or transients. They want the golden shore without the glare.

Deep down, the local property owners want the place to be as placid as Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

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LA Times Opinion: ‘I’m 73 and live in a van. …already received a warning in Ocean Beach … It feels like there’s no place for me in California anymore’

September 11, 2019 by Source

Editordude: The following opinion piece was published in the LA Times two days ago and it’s already making the rounds on the net. It’s by LaVonne Ellis, a former correspondent for ABC Radio News Networks.

By LaVonne Ellis / Los Angeles Times / Sep. 9, 2019

I wake up early these days, when morning light outlines the blackout curtains and floods the skylight above my bed. After washing up with baby wipes and donning clean clothes, I slide open a curtain to reveal the front seats and windshield of the van that is my home, and check the back one last time to make sure everything is secure. Then I crawl into the driver’s seat and turn the key.

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Homeless Numbers Increase in Major California Counties – Except Somehow Not in San Diego

July 15, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

All across California, the numbers of people who are homeless are increasing dramatically – especially in the populated counties – except for San Diego, for some reason.

In the latest count of San Diego County homeless people, conducted on January 25, it was found the homeless population had actually dropped – from about 6 percent to 11 percent (depending on who’s counting) and totaled 8,102 humans.

In late April, the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless released their report, and found 3,626 were in shelters and 4,476 were living on the streets, vehicles, canyons or other open places.

Reportedly, a 5.5 percent drop from last year, the Point-In-Time Count survey states this year’s numbers are down from both last year’s observed total of 8,576 and the 2017 total of 9,116.

As usual, the City of San Diego had the largest number of homeless people in the county: 5,073 humans

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Will San Diego Keep Its Title of Area With 4th Largest Homeless Population?

May 10, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

It’s too soon to tell if San Diego will retain its title of being the area with the 4th largest homeless population. Even though the official homeless count numbers are in, HUD has not determined the order of cities currently with the most homeless.But San Diego is proud to have retained this position since 2015.

It’s done everything it can to increase the numbers – and so has California in general.So, while homeless advocates and government grant writers await the final results of the yearly national contest, we can still look at the numbers we have.

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Homeless in Vehicles Hold Ocean Beach Protest Against San Diego’s Proposed Ban on Vehicle Habitation

May 9, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

On Wednesday, May 8th at the foot of Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach, there was a protest of sorts by people who are forced to live in their vehicles and homeless advocates.

A couple dozen people gathered to listen to personal stories in what was billed as a Speak-Out and Singalong called “No Housing, No Choice!” They were protesting the city’s proposed Vehicle Habitation Ordinance.

The ordinance would make it illegal to live in a vehicle between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. and anywhere within 500 feet of a school or housing at any time. Cars would also not be allowed to have any evidence of cooking, bathing or sleeping materials.

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‘No Housing, No Choice!’ Speak-Out, Singalong at Newport Ave. & Abbott St. Wed., May 8

May 8, 2019 by Source

Today – Wednesday. May 8th there’s a Speak-Out and Singalong called “No Housing, No Choice!” Newport Ave. & Abbott St. in Ocean Beach. There will be participation by the Light Brigade and Drum Circle.

Hosted by the San Diego Housing Emergency Alliance, the event begins at 5pm and runs to 8pm. It’s all about the true stories of people forced to use their vehicles for shelter.

Organizers are asking folks to join the event. They say PARKING IS TIGHT, so they’re asking people to meet at Robb Field, 2525 Bacon Street, between 3-4:30 pm to shuttle to the event. The return shuttle goes from 6:30-8:15 pm More info:

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The Numbers Who Used Homeless Services Is 3 Times the Number of Homeless Counted in San Diego County

May 6, 2019 by Source

Officials say this year’s point-in-time count numbers reflect changes to the process made at the direction of federal officials. Meanwhile, a separate stat sws homelessness could be more than triple the number found in the count.

By Lisa Halverstadt /Voice of San Diego / April 29, 2019

At first glance, San Diego’s latest annual point-in-time count appears to show a modest drop in homelessness. This year, the group counted 8,102 homeless San Diegans countywide compared with last year’s 8,576 estimate.

But officials caution the data isn’t comparable because of changes to the way the count is carried out and to the methodology the group uses to arrive at a final tally.

The Regional Task Force on the Homeless, which coordinates the homeless census, changed its strategy this year at the urging of federal officials

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Austin Company Prints 3D-House on Site as Model for Homeless

April 12, 2019 by Source

By Drew Zeiba / Architects Newspaper

“What if you could download and print a house for half the cost?” reads the lede for the Vulcan II, a 3D printer with a name suited for sci-fi space exploration, on the website of Austin-based company ICON. Now the company has put this claim to the test, building what it says is the first permitted 3D-printed home in the United States, unveiled during SXSW.

Using its original Vulcan gantry-style 3D printer, the firm collaborated with global housing nonprofit New Story to build a 650-square-foot home, which features separate bedroom, living, bathroom, and kitchen areas.

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Reader Rant: ‘We Must Do More for the Women and Children Living on Our Streets’

April 3, 2019 by Source

Are we helping those most in need?

By David Patterson

Kudos to the Alpha Project and Chelsea Investments for their success getting homeless Veterans into apartments as outlined by Gary Warth, UT San Diego, March 31 2019, “Homeless Vets have New home”.

Great work done by all, but now it’s time to prioritize to get an even more vulnerable population off the streets, women and children.

It may sound unbelievable that we have women and children on the streets but it’s true and frequently we at Veterans For Peace encounter these people while handing out sleeping bags.

Over a month’s time I have encountered dozens of unaccompanied women, 2 different women each with 4 young children including toddlers and a young teen aged couple, cold filthy and according to the female, pregnant. This goes on week after week, month after month with little change in my view. It’s time that we changed our priorities.

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San Diego Police Swept Through Homeless Areas Just Before Annual Homeless Count – May Have Had Negative Impact on Results

January 30, 2019 by Source

It appears that San Diego police swept through some homeless areas just before the annual homeless count last week, and now homeless advocates say the police efforts may have skewed the results of the count. Voice of San Diego reports:

Police enforcement spiked in the downtown area most densely populated with homeless San Diegans in the days before the annual homeless census last Friday, spurring questions from advocates and even the group that oversees the count about how the increased enforcement may have affected the effort.

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It’s Raining and Cold. The Homeless Are Still Outside.

January 16, 2019 by John Lawrence

by John Lawrence / January 16, 2019

I take a shortcut every day through Walter Way in my home town of El Cajon. It saves me from going through one stop light at 2nd and Madison. Walter Way is little more than a glorified alley paralleling 2nd Street.

In between there’s a McDonald’s, a Walgreen’s a Subway and a few other fast food places. Walter Way has been home to quite a large homeless settlement for some time. The other day there were 3 dump trucks and 3 El Cajon police cars clearing out the homeless and all their possessions from Walter Way.

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Homelessness Can’t Be Solved with Fines and Arrests

October 19, 2018 by Source

By John Tharp & Maria Foscarinis / OtherWords

When San Diego resident Gerald Stark’s rent increased and he couldn’t afford another apartment, the retired union pipefitter moved into his RV.

But because he lacked an address, San Diego law made it almost impossible for him to park his RV legally. Soon the city confiscated it, leaving him out on the streets. There, he was ticketed for violating another law prohibiting sleeping in public.

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Federal Judge Puts a Temporary Hold on San Diego Police Ticketing Homeless People Living in Their Vehicles

August 27, 2018 by Frank Gormlie

A federal judge last week ordered San Diego police to temporarily stop ticketing homeless people living in their vehicles. Sitting in San Diego, U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia issued the injunction until he makes a final ruling in a case brought to court by a class-action suit by a group of disabled homeless people living in recreational vehicles.

They filed the suit last year against the law, which they claim is discriminatory, with the help of the Disability Rights California and The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. In his order issued August 21, Battaglia called the city ordinance that prohibits people for living inside vehicles too vague

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Funky Homeless Count in San Diego

June 12, 2018 by Frank Gormlie

Every year in San Diego, the numbers of homeless people are accessed in the annual point-in-time count. Those numbers – collected by volunteers working for the Regional Task Force on the Homeless – are then used as a measure for the area’s progress in ending homelessness and – importantly – the funds and other resources required and received from the State and Feds.

So, this year the count was on January 26 – and volunteers spread out all over the region with their census sheets. And as it turned out, fortunately for them, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, County Supervisor Ron Roberts and City Councilman Chris Ward all held their pressers and got to announce a 6% drop in homelessness, compared to last year. There was just one problem. The numbers were wrong.

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‘America’s Finest City’ Is Worst in Nation in Housing the Homeless

June 1, 2018 by Source

By Murtaza Baxamusa / SanDiegoUrbDeZine

San Diego does not have a homeless problem, it has a housing bed inventory problem in comparison to other large cities. The region’s homeless as a percentage of the total population is 12th in the nation, and the five-year trend is relatively flat when including both sheltered and unsheltered homeless. Yet, despite the public outcry, there are still about five thousand unsheltered homeless sleeping on our streets, sidewalks, canyons, riverbeds, parks and open spaces.

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Homelessness and Capitalism: Some Untold Truths

May 31, 2018 by Source

By Jeeni Criscenzo

According to the survey in the 2018 Point-in-Time Count (PITC) of homeless people in San Diego County, the four main reasons for becoming homeless are: Loss of Job; Money Issues; Cost of Housing, and Other. Abuse/Violence ranks lowest.

But this survey is missing input from thousands of families, as I explained in my prior column, so in reality, fleeing from domestic violence could be a major cause of homelessness. So too could deportation of the primary breadwinner be a factor, which is not even listed as an option, but is a contributing factor for some homeless families.

Underlying those four highest causes are specific failings in our current economic system, such as: jobs that don’t pay enough to cover the basics;

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Under International Spotlight, El Cajon Ends Its Ban on Feeding Homeless in Parks

January 29, 2018 by Frank Gormlie

Being portrayed negatively in the international spotlight is never good, as the city of El Cajon recently found out. The east county city found international attention after it banned feeding the homeless in parks, and after about a dozen homeless advocates were arrested, cited and released for trying to feed homeless people in a local El Cajon park.

The city lifted the temporary order on Tuesday, January 23rd. They had enacted the ban – they claimed – as a safety measure after the San Diego County Board of Supervisors declared the region’s growing hepatitis A outbreak a public health emergency. The same day, last Tuesday, the County ended the health emergency over Hep A.

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Petition: Investigate Mayor Faulconer for Criminal Negligence in Hepatitis A Outbreak

September 20, 2017 by Source

Faulconer Has Ignored Calls for More Public Restrooms Downtown Since 2014

By Martha Sullivan / Change.org

The San Diego City government, led by Mayor Faulconer, has been told for three years that more public restrooms are needed downtown.

But the Mayor has consistently cried poor mouth — despite spending $2.1 million on an unplanned EIR for an upgraded Qualcomm Football Stadium during this time.

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Vapor Beds and Other Non-Facts

August 3, 2017 by Source

Rows of institutional style beds with superimposed text: Vapor Beds

By Jeeni Criscenzo /San Diego Free Press

Let me start with an apology. At the San Diego Select Committee for Homelessness meeting on Monday, July 24, I made some comments in response to a report by the new CEO of the Regional Taskforce on the Homeless, Gordon Walker, which came out sounding critical and petty.

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San Diego Has $80 Million Worth of Promises for the Homeless

July 11, 2017 by Doug Porter

America’s Finest City isn’t really all that fine, sometimes. Especially if you happen to be a homeless human. Or a whistleblower. Or a woman. Or a protester. The same old, same old, keeps on happening, and like cartoon character Charlie Brown going after that football Lucy’s holding for him, we keep falling for it.

An $80 million commitment in funding for homeless services announced last week is just the latest in a series of moves designed to make people think something is being done by local officials.

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Solving Homelessness Can’t Wait Another Year

June 22, 2017 by Source

By Jeeni Criscenzo / San Diego Free Press

Is the Regional Task Force on Homelessness (RTFH) really expecting people in desperate situations to patiently wait another year while we work on yet another plan?

Do we have so little confidence in our own ability to assess a situation that we need to bring in an expert from Sacramento to tell us what to do? Or are we so hamstrung by the same old vested interests that we can’t accommodate new ideas unless they come from outside and we pay lots of money for them?

I really want to believe that we are getting closer to a coordinated plan for housing people who’re experiencing homelessness. But I’ve sat through enough of these meetings over the last decade to justify my skepticism.

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Bearing Witness to Homelessness in San Diego

May 12, 2017 by Source

Homelessness San Diego; Photo credit Michael McConnell

By Stan Levin / San Diego Veterans for Peace

They are here, by the hundreds, by the thousands, the dispossessed among us.
People having little in the way of the niceties of a comfortable existence
That equates with the concept of “Home”.
Many wear all the clothing they own, on their backs, day and night.
Some push their collection of meager possessions around in a shopping cart they have found
Or stolen, ahead of them in their endless wanderings
To nowhere in particular.

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The Guardian of Third Avenue

May 5, 2017 by Source

By sloan ranger

Sometimes I don’t see him for weeks and I wonder where he is.

He must cover several miles daily, walking silently up and down Third Avenue, wearing his heavy black peacoat with a hood.

I don’t worry about him in the cold so much, it’s the blistering hot days I think of him most because he has the heavy coat on then, too.

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There’s No Hiding It. There’s No Place for Homeless San Diegans to Go

May 4, 2017 by Source

Press conference atop the MTS parking garage at the 12th and Imperial Transit Station

By Jeeni Criscenzo / San Diego Free Press

The numbers of homeless person in our region counted during the annual Point in Time Count (PITC) conducted January 29, 2017 were recently released.

This is the data that will be sent to HUD to determine how much funding will be provided to the County of San Diego for homeless issues, including emergency shelter and efforts to get people into permanent housing. Last year that amounted to $18 million but under the Trump administration those funds could be significantly reduced.

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Downtown San Diego Sweeps Against Homeless People Are Cruel and Have Got to Stop – Now!

April 7, 2017 by Source

By Jeeni Criscenzo /San Diego Free Press

On April 5th, while I was in City Hall with other advocates for homeless people voicing our objections to the Mayor’s proposed ballot measure to increase the Transit Occupancy Tax to pay for an expansion of the convention center, with a few crumbs tossed in for “Reducing Homelessness”, only a few blocks away, some of our City’s most destitute citizens were being cruelly victimized.

Their tormentors not only took away everything they had left in the world, including what little makeshift shelter they had, but in one case documented in photos and a video by Michael McConnell, they even took a man’s pet dog!

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Midway Planning Group Hosting Beach Community Planners Discussion About Homelessness in April

March 21, 2017 by Source

By Geoff Page

The Midway/Pacific Highway Community Planning Group regular Wednesday monthly meeting, held at the San Diego City College – West City Campus on Fordham Street on March 15th, was abbreviated because of a lack of action items and a number of government report no shows.

The only action item was a partial decision of the Midway community plan, a draft of which was coming out in March according to Vicki White from the Planning Department.

Small Parks Included in New Community Plan

White introduced a document that depicted areas of the Midway district that will be set aside as park land. Two small areas on the bike path along the river were the subject of the action vote. One area was designated “San Diego River Park Pathway” and the other was “San Diego Mini Park.”

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