Susan Luzzaro 6:30 p.m., July 31
- Community Blog
The neverending story of homelessness
Today I was walking in the East Village area when I realized that I had been avoiding a lot of homeless people who were basically camped on the sidewalks. It is summertime and even with June Gloom, the homeless population increases. Ocean Beach is currently in the middle of a controversy about stickers being posted about "bums". Some say it is just meant to clean up the area. Others say it is mean spirited. The fact is OB has attracted a genre of homeless who are young, male, aggressive & prone to fighting. The next paragraph was written on 9/23/09:
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.
Not much has changed except the homeless now extend to most of our fair city. They are prominent on all streets leading to Petco Park on game nights. Some play musical instruments, some just sit and hold signs, some aggressively step in front of people and beg for money.
The City contract with National Alliance to end Homelessness started:
"In 2004, San Diego County launched its plan, “Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in the San Diego Region” which outlines strategies to eliminate chronic homelessness by 2012."
Included in the plan: "All previously chronically homeless individuals will have access to safe, decent, affordable housing along with the necessary support services throughout the San Diego region, by 2012."
That is only 18 months away and our City Council does not have a site for even one permanent homeless shelter. The original plan makes for good reading. If only someone in power in San Diego had read it.
I am well aware of the fact that the State and most municipalities are broke. There is a recession which ties the hands of officials, forcing them to make tough decisions about where to spend what little money there is to go around. Even alleged affordable housing is far from affordable for most people in need in San Diego. Paying 80% of income for rent is common. The San Diego Commission defines affordable housing in terms of income. It is confusing because the actual rental prices are not related to income. In otherwords, even if your income falls under the 'very low income' category, there is no limit on the amount of rent in an alleged affordable housing complex.
From the Housing Commission:
**These housing developments were created or are being built under City of San Diego inclusionary housing programs, which ensure that affordable housing is made available to lower income households when new market rate homes are built.
If only that were true. The housing situation in San Diego is all geared towards high end living, even though the median income would dictate a much more diverse and certainly cheaper market. I especially love the visionaries at CCDC who approved the Strata. It is an ugly, very large apartment complex with outrageously high rents (at the corner of 10th & Market).
The bottom line is that affordable housing is anything but affordable in San Diego. The fact that there are waiting lists up to 7 years should, perhaps, make someone sit up and think about all those empty condos for all those rich people who do not live here and are not planning to move here.