continued Some in the community feel that making it harder for the homeless to find good spots to get sauced up is beneficial. They say that allowing them to drink legally on the beach reinforced their bad habits and that homeless substance abusers cost the police, fire, and emergency rooms time and money.
Deni McLagan, a program manager for three regional recovery centers in San Diego, is one of those people. She thinks that anything that makes it harder for the homeless to abuse alcohol or drugs is a step in the right direction. “It used to be that they used to get free beers from beachgoers, and their sole income was from aluminum cans they collected off of the beach. Now they can no longer support themselves from canning, nor do they have the beach to drink at. So, needless to say, they’re not happy about it. The ban puts pressure on them, and however it does that, whether it’s making it harder to get free beer or collect an income, I’m all for that.”
Of course, McLagan is aware that there will still be drinking in the homeless community. “You just have to be a little more creative, that’s all,” Jon Baker says, after gulping down a mini-bottle of vodka in an alley in Ocean Beach. When asked where he goes to drink, he responds, “Right here, brother! I’m definitely not going to the beach, that’s for sure.”