Garrett Harris 4 p.m., Jan. 20
- Community Blog
More & more homeless are choosing the area around 9th & calling it home. Last night there were several loud arguments. At 2 AM, an older (maybe 75)was ranting loudly about illegal aliens. He exclaimed that he was on the street because the illegals (his statement, not mine) use up all the resources that should be for American citizens. He was obviously upset. A young (maybe 25) man stomped his way over & shouted at the old man, making it clear that it was his right to sleep right where he was, with his wife. The older guy called out that "none of you lazy bums" have the right to sleep/live on sidewalks he put in! A triumverate of men arrived, one took the older man and headed south. The other 2 sat down with the younger man & his wife. The woman was quite agitated and, apparently, did not speak English. All of her comments were directed towards her husband. It was 3 AM. The discussion lasted about 20 minutes. The couple crawled into a tent & the older man did not return. I finally went back to bed about 3:30.
Sleep is a fleeting thing for residents in this downtown/East village section. I have lived here for 3 years & this is the first time I have felt threatened, afraid to walk along E or north on 9th.
Recently a friend's parents came to visit via cruise ship. The thing they noticed were the dirty clothes and odiferous nature of many people along the Boardwalk. All were seeking money. My friend was embarrassed because our fine city has a great reputation/image. You remember the "America's Finest City" campaign. It doesn't look like that to tourists.
How about a summit of the local charities involved in the issue of homelessness, Clean & Safe, City Council (Kevin Faulconer), San Diego Police, EVCAN, and other interested parties. It is paramount that we find some answers soon. For the past few months, I have been staying right here, often within my apartment for several days. I used to go out on my patio for fresh air & just being outdoors. Now, when I go out there, I tend to get angry, feeling that the "tent city" people have taken over the area. I used to walk along E to get to many places. Now I use F and it is getting populated by homeless, south of 8th. Just last week, a young couple (they were quite dirty & odiferous) got angry because I said no to their request for money.
When the Padres play home games, all streets leading south (one way streets have sidewalks & it matters not to pedestrians whether north or south!), 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, are filled with homeless, requesting money. Like my friend, I am embarrassed. San Diego is a great city for the homeless as they do not have to be concerned about rain and it rarely gets below 50 degrees, even on a 'winter' night.
I spoke to a couple of people at the Food Bank who said the need for food is greater than ever. The numbers of people requesting their help has tripled since the first of this year. The demand at the food kitchens is straining the budgets and they have run out of food on many occasions.
Those of you who can make a donation, please do so. The programs run by Father Joe & others have been active in the homeless corridors. As I previously stated, many of these people refuse to go to these places because they have RULES.