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Stop ticketing the homeless, Mayor Faulconer

"We request that he do so as an emergency humanitarian action."

Steph Johnson, surrounded by members of the Voices of Our City Choir
Steph Johnson, surrounded by members of the Voices of Our City Choir

Advocates for San Diego's homeless population gathered downtown Tuesday morning (January 3) to rally and present mayor Kevin Faulconer's office with a petition calling on police to cease ticketing and arresting individuals living on the street until a comprehensive housing solution is implemented. At the time of the event, the petition had garnered over 1100 signatures.

"We need to treat homelessness as the manmade disaster that it is, not as a crime," said Martha Sullivan of Women Occupy San Diego, the group circulating the petition.

"Six years ago, there were 10,000 more affordable housing units in San Diego than there are currently," added John Brady, a homeless member of the Voices of Our City Choir, which opened the rally by singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." "We designed this crisis, and we've continued to perpetrate it upon the people of this city."

Steph Johnson, cofounder of the choir, called homeless shelters a "temporary solution" unfit for many people living on the streets who have formed communities to protect one another.

"It's wrong — the ticketing of people who don't have a home," Johnson continued. "This is not the job of a police officer.

"Mayor Faulconer has the authority to suspend the ticketing, the arrest, and the stay-away orders for homeless people in San Diego. We request that he do so as an emergency humanitarian action until permanent and safe housing is provided to every San Diegan who is in desperate, desperate need of shelter."

Former state assemblywoman and mayoral candidate Lori Saldaña acknowledged Faulconer's efforts to find housing for homeless veterans but said more needed to be done.

"Shelters are not the solution, housing is," insisted Saldaña. "When our housing policies actually displace thousands of people, as they have for years, we're going in the wrong direction.

"What has this mayor done? He's put rocks under shelters, taken away tents and tarps. We can do better than that. People on the streets are neighbors, they're people we work with, they are my students."

A recent report suggests the downtown homeless population has nearly doubled in the past four years, though the 1073 counted recently include only a small portion of an estimated 8692 homeless throughout the county, according to an early 2016 estimate. Advocates say even this number is low, as it fails to account for individuals taking temporary shelter from friends and family members.

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Steph Johnson, surrounded by members of the Voices of Our City Choir
Steph Johnson, surrounded by members of the Voices of Our City Choir

Advocates for San Diego's homeless population gathered downtown Tuesday morning (January 3) to rally and present mayor Kevin Faulconer's office with a petition calling on police to cease ticketing and arresting individuals living on the street until a comprehensive housing solution is implemented. At the time of the event, the petition had garnered over 1100 signatures.

"We need to treat homelessness as the manmade disaster that it is, not as a crime," said Martha Sullivan of Women Occupy San Diego, the group circulating the petition.

"Six years ago, there were 10,000 more affordable housing units in San Diego than there are currently," added John Brady, a homeless member of the Voices of Our City Choir, which opened the rally by singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." "We designed this crisis, and we've continued to perpetrate it upon the people of this city."

Steph Johnson, cofounder of the choir, called homeless shelters a "temporary solution" unfit for many people living on the streets who have formed communities to protect one another.

"It's wrong — the ticketing of people who don't have a home," Johnson continued. "This is not the job of a police officer.

"Mayor Faulconer has the authority to suspend the ticketing, the arrest, and the stay-away orders for homeless people in San Diego. We request that he do so as an emergency humanitarian action until permanent and safe housing is provided to every San Diegan who is in desperate, desperate need of shelter."

Former state assemblywoman and mayoral candidate Lori Saldaña acknowledged Faulconer's efforts to find housing for homeless veterans but said more needed to be done.

"Shelters are not the solution, housing is," insisted Saldaña. "When our housing policies actually displace thousands of people, as they have for years, we're going in the wrong direction.

"What has this mayor done? He's put rocks under shelters, taken away tents and tarps. We can do better than that. People on the streets are neighbors, they're people we work with, they are my students."

A recent report suggests the downtown homeless population has nearly doubled in the past four years, though the 1073 counted recently include only a small portion of an estimated 8692 homeless throughout the county, according to an early 2016 estimate. Advocates say even this number is low, as it fails to account for individuals taking temporary shelter from friends and family members.

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8

No, no, no... we should step up enforcement, not reduce it! Illegal camping, trespassing, littering, illegal fires, possession of stolen property, public urination and defecation... if we slack off, we'll get more of those things, not less! There is no "comprehensive housing solution". I know the do-gooders like to pretend that the homeless are all noble, upstanding people who got screwed, and all they need is a nice new house and all will be well. But that is the polar opposite of the truth. The ranks of the homeless are composed primarily of the mentally ill, who, if they cannot care for themselves, should be cared for by society but on OUR terms... locked facility, basics, no option to harm themselves and others. The do-gooders oppose that. Most of the rest are drug addicts, thieves, molesters, stupid, antisocial... the list goes on. The few who want help, who can be helped, and will accept help should be helped. The rest should be locked up or kicked and beaten out of town.

Jan. 3, 2017

Your ignorance, lack of compassion and inhumanity are astonishing.

Jan. 3, 2017

I would have to agree with you.

Jan. 3, 2017

ran out of town on rails?

Jan. 3, 2017

If the do gooders are so concerned why don't they take one of the druggies, alcoholics or mentally ill home with them? Drugs and alcohol are diseases of choice. The truly mentally ill should be placed in an institution. The rest are bums and on the street by choice. If you feed a stray dog you will get more stray dogs.

Jan. 4, 2017

Not that simple.. Not black and white.. Generalizing does nothing to address the housing issue which is at the core and due to this fact, many who end up on the streets when they have no place to call home, find themselves homeless. Thousands of housing units were demolished by developers.... Sad state of affairs for those who are not drug addicts or mentally ill. This could happen to anybody.....

Jan. 4, 2017

Gosh, it almost still feels like Christmas, all the goodwill toward men on here!

It was shown last month that half of all homeless in San Diego are new to the streets; and we've known for years that 40% of all homeless youth are LGBT, and almost twice as many are veterans as are in the general population.

But instead, jnojr and AlexClarke want to make the subset of drug addicts and mentally ill stand for the whole, so that they can dispense with any nuance and indulge in fascist fantasies.

Hate to break it to you fellas, but people are not their condition. No matter what, they're still your fellow human beings. (Sorry, that also means your condition doesn't make you superior, either.)

We need to address that homelessness is simply the symptom of a sociopolitical system that fails to support its citizens. Far too many of the population are housed by contingency only: a single missed paycheck, job loss, or illness is all it takes to turn someone out of doors. Emergency short-term financial assistance, comprehensive social support services, as well as "housing first" strategies are what's needed.

But even though these things would cost less than mass incarceration, that would involve actually solving problems rather than indulging in mean spiritedness for its own sake.

God bless us, every one.

Jan. 4, 2017

This is exactly what they began doing in San Francisco and it been a total disaster. Please, Mayor Faulconer, don't succumb to the pressure of the so-called politically correct movement. All laws need to be enforced equally, it is your duty, and a sworn oath taken by every police officer.

Jan. 4, 2017

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