Homelessness Hurts

The job of elected officials is to work to make good decisions for their communities.

In challenging economic times, needs grow and resources must stretch, making the decisions harder. Yet many would agree that children are a priority.

More than 13,200 homeless children were served in our region in 2010.  In fact, the majority of people in homeless families in San Diego are children. 1

Communities are discovering that they can save money by housing people experiencing homelessness.2



A few weeks ago I sat down on a bench at the pier and spoke with a few homeless individuals. I simply asked “what do YOU need”?

The 1st response was LAUNDRY! Then showers, shelter & medical help. OK so I have to give a SHOUT OUT to the local churches and other volunteers that make sure that nutrition is available & trust me, everyone I have spoken to is so grateful.

I also want to give a SHOUT OUT to OPD ! The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) is in it’s infancy and they have gotten over 35 individuals back into homes in a 10 month period ! The model includes case management which is an important factor to connecting people to the right services and then facilitating that process.

I have done some research and realize that instead of being angry about the volumes of people on the street & the preconceived notion that they are all on drugs, choose to be on the street or mentally ill.

Yes, these demographics exist but they also exist on a percentage basis in every microcosm! In one neighborhood alone, there are drug users, mentally ill, physically ill, thieves and people that live off the system.

Did you know a lot of the homeless are from Oceanside> Grew up here, worked here, owned homes here, have kids that go to school here! One woman slept outside with her two kids for 2 1/2 months and got those kids to school, sometimes un-bathed for 3 days!

So this is how I see it, homelessness can be dramatically reduced through a Tri-City effort: Vista O’side & Carlsbad take ownership an equal share of a coordinated effort.

And so since we are #3 in the country on average in homelessness, why are we only #18 in Fed Funding? Also, there is a county program called “Keys to Housing” which has templates and tools to get started on efforts within our community. Places like Portland have implemented real creative solutions…

A couple of people told me that there clothes are dirty so how are they going to interview? When they fill out applications, they have no mailing address or phone number.  To get Medical to get help for illnesses (mental & physical) they must have a CA State ID! OK so now they have to get to DMV and then they only mail ID’s so again, no address, no card.

So let’s say, for those who want help, you go mobile. There are vehicles that have laundry and showers that can go to where services are needed. Let’s say also that we have a van that goes to the pier every other Wednesday and takes anyone who wants an ID to the DMV and see if PO Boxes ca be set-up at Brother Benno’s for mail to be received! Then, on Thursday the van goes to the pier with Medical applications and helps people fill them out. What about on Saturday morning a van shows up and takes people to Brother Benno’s for lunch and haircuts and shaves!

There are just so many possibilities to really reach out and give fellow residents a hand up.  This is what builds community and then those helped will then help the next group!

What are your thoughts?






“It may look like a van. It may just be a hot shower and a washer and dryer, but ask yourselves where that van is going to take us,” Simitian said. “I know there are men and women in this crowd that are going to take a shower, clean up, find a job that will be the ticket to a better life to permanent housing and their continued role as members of a larger community.”


Keys to Housing.org

Keys to Housing (Keys) is a broad, regional coalition committed to ending the solvable crisis of family homeless in San Diego County. With over 100 members from the social services, government and healthcare sectors, the Keys coalition has been working since 2010 to create an achievable vision for supportive, sustainable housing and increased opportunities for our most vulnerable families

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