Something happened 10-15 years ago to the homeless. I don’t know exactly what triggered him. But I remember walking through the Occupy San Diego protests (the tent camps that popped up in City Hall in 2011 demanding Wall Street’s responsibility for the recession) and I realized that many of the campers weren’t necessarily activists. , but homeless people who had come to live in what became a solidarity village.
After that, the tent — the personal tent, the Coleman, Marmot, or REI nylon or polyester tent — came to define street homelessness across the country. It drastically changed the visibility and experience of homelessness on the street.
Tents and the homeless are not a 21st century combination. Tents and campers filled the entire Mission Valley in the early 1940s when migrants from across the country cried out in San Diego for the many jobs the defense industry created.
But the tent camps that sprang up in East Village, along the Navy Broadway complex and the hundreds of river beds in the San Diego Canyon River, began to frame the conversation here in a different way. It was as if the unprotected population was tired of two things: tired of hiding and tired of being cold.
Stores privatized public rights of way and asserted homelessness in the public consciousness.
They were a protest, a manifestation of our failure.
The shops helped people build community and help each other. They created a sense of security, privacy, and even family life, but they also provided coverage against crime and violence.
Worse, however, are the concentrations of deaths and illnesses. An outbreak of feces transmitted by hepatitis A caused such a scale in 2017 that it led city and regional leaders to take homelessness seriously in a way they had not done, even though tent villages had expanded for several years. Now, even the most sympathetic to tent camps and the plight of their residents cannot deny the horrific deaths they often face, whether at the hands of murderers and traffickers or wandering drivers who lose control of their vehicles. . More than 10 years later, just now, we are barely struggling with what the stores have changed about homelessness.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria recently said something about them that should spark thousands of conversations and a general rethink of what we are doing in the face of this crisis.
In a March 28 opinion piece in the San Diego Union-Tribune on the homeless crisis plan he is carrying out, Gloria acknowledged the reality that stores have created:
“One of the central challenges we face is that many of the people who camp on our sidewalks or in the canyons do not want to live in a crowded environment, as are most of our shelters, so they reject the offers of beds in these facilities”. He wrote.
The city currently has 1,468 contracted beds in congregated or shared settings.
People who have been working in homeless services and services know that many people have preferred their personal tents to shelters for many years. There is nothing particularly insightful about the mayor’s statement except that he said so. And if he believes it, and he should, then it has huge implications far beyond the city of San Diego. If others agree, we need to rethink how we are deploying millions of dollars to address the issue and how we talk to people on the street.
It’s as if a taboo has finally been broken. People who live in tent camps do not want to move to shelters. The data is overwhelming. Whenever the city sweeps a huge camp, the vast majority of the population’s workers offer shelter to refuse. Because? Not because they want to be homeless. But because their personal tents offer them dignity, privacy, and enough shelter to survive.
Congregated shelters, on the other hand, can often be dystopian, dangerous, and restrictive. His incompatibility with a healthy life became apparent, again, when the disease arrived. The first thing former mayor Kevin Faulconer noticed when COVID-19 spread to the United States was that he needed to clean up the congregation’s shelters. A group of people stranded in a poorly ventilated environment would have been ideal for the spread of the disease.
COVID left homeless residents even less interested in these options as alternatives to their own camps.
“If the environment they’re entering isn’t safe, clean, or comfortable, what’s different about being on the street?” said Hanan Scrapper, regional director of People Assisting The Homeless, the city’s leading partner in many outreach and homeless care efforts. “When we do traditional shelters and response efforts, we don’t always think about dignity.”
It turns out that homeless residents look a lot like homeless people. They want privacy. However, they want to be close to the community. They like pets. They like to be together with their loved ones. And yes, some people like to use drugs or drink. All of these things, however, can be restricted or difficult in a congregated environment.
So what are we doing? Last month, county supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced that the county would help prop up a new mega-tent shelter for 150 people in the Midway area. The mayor is supportive. But if the mayor agrees that crowded environments can’t compete with tent camps, why do we continue to support them? I asked his team.
“Our goal in foster homes is not to create the ideal situation but to put them in a position to access the services to be part of the system that ultimately leads them to housing and to take them out of the street. It’s not safe on the street, “said Rachel Laing, the mayor’s spokeswoman.
But did the mayor himself say that doesn’t work?
“Well, that’s where the app comes in. If we have enough beds, we can force people to move,” he said.
Now we are getting somewhere. We’re saying the quieter parts louder now. Congregated shelters, while helping some, provide a tool for the city. In a world where personal tents have changed despite the widespread adoption of recreational camping equipment by the homeless made life comfortable enough, with enough dignity, large shelters allow the city to return to annoying homeless residents.
This is what the mayor has decided to do. Stores make sense to some, he wrote.
“But we just can’t be a city that allows people to camp wherever they want. It’s not safe, it’s unhealthy and it speaks ill of all of us if we do nothing to address misery and despair,” he wrote.
He is also right about this, but the simple uprooting of the camps initiates an endless cycle of uprooting and re-rooting. People don’t disappear, they just regroup. The process is hard for the people on the street, hard for the police to carry it out and if the constant presence of so much human suffering in our streets is in itself a form of violence that traumatizes all those who they have to move for it, then the approach ensures that as many people as possible experience it.
Perhaps it is worthwhile, however, to rethink this paradox. Sometimes, when you’re fighting something, you have to channel your energy instead of trying to destroy it. Personal stores are not good. But they represent a human desire to care for and build community. Tents reveal not a desire to be on the street but a very human desire to build a house.
There is no reason why our unprotected population should not continue to do so on its own if given the space.
“From our experience, what we have seen is that when customers enter a clean and well-kept environment, with good food and healthy culture, they try to take care of it. They see that people care about them and that gives them hope, “Scrapper said.
They want to build houses, and yet we are spending a lot of our resources and energy trying to bring them down and force them into our system.
One thing would be if it worked, but it’s not. Despite a mobilization of resources from the city, counties and states, it is getting worse. More people are suffering. They die more. They live more in the dirt.
It is no coincidence that our already extraordinary cost of living is skyrocketing as the problem deepens. Homelessness is the lowest rung on the scale of housing. Instead of cheap housing, they are setting up personal tents.
The mayor does not want to house them in a safe camping village, Laing says, because the city and suppliers cannot afford the support staff needed to keep them safe. But he has also proved incapable of winning the war in street shops.
If you are losing a war and wasting money fighting it, it may be time to rethink it.
People on the street tell us they want a space to set up their own life.
Whatever money we spend to force them to consider our approach, it can be better spent to keep them safe and clean while pursuing theirs.
Is San Diego safe in 2021?
OVERALL RISK: LOW. San Diego is generally very safe to travel. Although sometimes dangerous, the criminal activities that take place only apply to dangerous areas of the city, which are not frequented by tourists.
Where are the most homeless in San Diego?
Along the city sidewalks in downtown San Diego, in front of shopping malls on Oceanside, scattered through open areas near the ramps of the South Bay Highway, homeless camps have become a most frequent sighting in San Diego County in recent months.
Which part of California has the most homeless people? City of Los Angeles According to a 2019 Los Angeles Times poll, 95% of voters rated homelessness as a serious or very serious problem in the city, more so than for any other problem. LA County officials reported that in 2019 there were more than 39,000 homeless people in the city.
Are there many homeless people in San Diego?
The previous time count in 2020 showed that there were 7,638 homeless people in San Diego County. In 2019, the total number of homeless people was 8,102, according to the regional working group on homelessness.
Is homelessness increasing in San Diego?
Homelessness and street despair appear to be on the streets of the city, and partial county data show that drug overdose deaths also rose among homeless residents last year, leading to new calls for new solutions. Street homelessness and the misery associated with it seem to be rising to new highs across San Diego.
Why does San Diego have so many homeless?
The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to further aggravate the growing number of homeless people in San Diego. With so many people being out of paid work while in their 40s, combined with the rising cost of living here in San Diego, the number of homeless people has risen considerably since 2019.
What city has the highest homeless?
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Which state has the highest homeless rate per capita?
According to CNBC, New York City spent $ 3 billion to support its homeless population in 2019. And, according to current measures, New York is the state with the most homeless people per capita in America.
What cities have the highest homeless rate?
Urban areas with the highest number of homeless people
- New York, New York.
- Los Angeles and Los Angeles County, California.
- Seattle and King County, Washington.
- San Diego and San Diego County, California.
- San Jose, Santa Clara and Santa Clara County, California.
How can I help homeless children in San Diego?
StandUp for Kids – San Diego has successfully incorporated: the Send-A-Kid Home program (where children meet with a responsible family member who provides a safe and secure home for a family member) … San Diego
- Customer service center.
- Dissemination on the street.
- Housing Support.
How many homeless children are there in San Diego? Federal statistics show that California remains the state with the highest overall homeless population and the highest number of unaccompanied homeless youth. More than 1,500 young people are among the homeless in San Diego County.
How do you talk to homeless children?
Start by expressing your own feelings, saying something like, “I think it’s sad that this person has nowhere to live.” Make sure they understand that being homeless does not make someone a bad person. Help children understand that people are homeless for many different reasons.
What does homelessness mean?
The definition of homeless includes: A person or family who does not have a fixed, regular and adequate night residence, such as those living in emergency shelters, transitional housing or non-residential places, or.
Is it OK to say homeless?
New in AP style: Homeless is generally acceptable as an adjective to describe people without a permanent residence. Avoid the term “homeless.” Instead: homeless people, homeless people or homeless people.