Photos I collected over the last few months in and around downtown San Diego. There sure are a lot of homeless folks these days (it seems the economic collapse of late last year had put a lot of folks on the streets). I’m a libertarian-leaning independent, but man, I have to wonder if the liberal European countries are doing something much better than we do when they at least have something to show for all the tax they pay while the only thing we have to show seems to be our perpetually misused military... getting their butts shot at in various different countries then coming back here to find themselves on the streets.
(Music is an air check recording of Vesselina Kasarova singing Ruggiero's 'Verdi, prati' during a performance of Handel's Alcina at the Bavarian State Opera in 2005)
There are at least 200 people sleeping on the sidewalks of downtown San Diego every night simply because they haven’t got anywhere to go. All the shelters (most of them are funded by private charity rather than our tax) are full. Last I heard, the waiting list to get a cot in a shelter in San Diego is at least 3 weeks long! I’ve met some homeless here who probably wouldn’t have turned to smoking weed to escape from reality if they had been helped sooner (many made some thoughtless mistakes when they were young and have a criminal record… And that ruins their chance of getting employed for them even if the record only shows misdemeanors and not felony). Now they’ll likely die on these dusty streets sooner or later.
Oh, don’t ask me how they manage to get the weed… I haven’t a clue and neither did I want to know when I was out there. I was lucky that a few drug-free ones had taken it upon themselves to show me how to survive on the street and to stay relatively clean. It is a shame that they are still on the street while I’m not (if you don’t think you need a college degree to get out of the ghetto today, think again, kids!).
If you want to help these guys, DON’T give them money and/or food unless they look like they’re about to drop dead from starvation. Either offer them a job or donate to charities that offer shelters or day centers with counseling and job programs instead! Most folks gain weight rather than lose it living on the street (I was pretty impressed with that. I lost 8 lbs in 12 days myself).
Some of the homeless folks I know will want to bash my head in for telling you to teach them how to fish instead of just throwing a fish on their plate every now and then. But if you really would like San Diego to be free of homelessness, then REALLY help rather than just enable that living condition to proliferate. Donate to or volunteer at these organizations and really help the homeless transients get off the streets for good:
Interfaith Shelter Network
The Alpha Project
Rachel’s Women’s Center
San Diego Rescue Mission
Regional Task Force on the Homeless