As street homelessness rises from North Park to Pacific Beach, business districts across the city are increasingly stepping up to combat it, leading to a patchwork of strategies that can complicate efforts to address the problem.
Business owners are demanding action in the absence of a formal regional or city plan to address the growing crisis. And they’re looking to their business districts, which pull in annual fees to represent and promote businesses in more than a dozen neighborhoods across the city, to help.
But some of those groups have taken steps that do more to displace homeless folks than help them get off the street.
Security officers hired by business districts order homeless folks to leave storefronts in Hillcrest and Ocean Beach, while outreach workers offer help in City Heights and downtown neighborhoods.
The approaches differ but the motivation behind the business groups’ efforts is consistent: There’s a need to better deal with homeless folks, and business groups can’t afford to wait for government officials to help.
The latest business district response to homelessness is in Pacific Beach, where leaders of that neighborhood’s business improvement district plan to combine safety patrols with an initiative to hire homeless residents to clean Pacific Beach streets.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Tom Freeman Has made a good and humane presentation. I found his comment insightful and I agree with it.
I understand the profit based motivation of "Business" association and districts. They are collectives organized to advance their profit motivations not to advance social causes or residential communities. Businesses should not be faulted for acting in their interests. There is an aspect of hypocrisy because many of these District businesses profit off the sale of the causal drugs and its promotion.
San Diego has a larger proportion of the street ill and dysfunctional because it promotes and encourages an economic base that depends on the casual consumption of Alcohol, drugs and related vice activities. San Diego's tourism vice history was so great, following the Balboa Exhibition, that City Heights community incorporated itself into the separate "dry" city of EAST SAN DIEGO to avoid the alcohol, drugs and prostitution of San Diego and its Stingaree downtown Gaslamp tourism district. Now, a century latter, San Diego has re invigorated its tourism vice district and faces a street homeless population bloom.
There are many other contributing factors to the street population but no one can deny that an economy based on the easy access marketing and distribution of drugs and alcohol contributes to this population. The tourism industry recruits young people into low wage jobs and exposes them to every vice available; some youths become old used up drunks. San Diego needs to reflect on its economic initiatives and ask itself whether part of our challenge is attributable to Hospitality and Tourism industry
On one hand I find this type of attitude towards homeless absolutely disgusting/infuriating and on the other I feel sad for the people who think that behavior is acceptable. Running off homeless from sitting in public areas that happen to be in front of businesses is not solving the problem and is probably some type of violation of their federal civil rights. Most anti-homeless or vagrant type laws are clearly violations of their civil rights. Also, they, they being the business assoications, use bigotry andcherry picked statistics to vilify an entire subgroup of the popluation based on appearance which is no different than the various racist arguments and actions on the part of businesses and cities in the midwest during the early to middle part of the last century.
We should stop and look at the root cause of homelessness. Running them off is much like treating only a nose bleed when it is a tumour causing the nose bleed. There are two subgroups, as I see it, within the homeless community and they are "homeless" and "homefree". Homelessness is a disperate situation brought on by mental illness, drug abuse or financial hardship. All three deserve attention but I am going to address the third. if you take the time to talk to the people, remember that they are people no different than you or I, of that third group and find out their back story you would see virtually the same story over and over. That is a story of little chances, struggles and then finally a giving up of a sorts.
It is obvious when you take a step back and an honest look at our "system" you should see that it is a losing game for some from the start. Long gone are the days of single earner income families and quickly behind it are going the days of the average person being able to afford to live alone. Rent and general cost of living increase much faster than the average wage does. This means that to simply maintain the same life style you must use more and more of your time for earning income to support that life style. There are a fairly large amount of people who have decided not to play that game and I call them "homefree". Homefree is a liberating experince and is considerably different than homelessness although they both do not rent homes or have jobs. I would say that the homefree understand the root causes of the homeless epidemic and have deceided not to participate.
The real problem lies in our currency/economic system and prohibition. Our currency is, on a fundamental level, worth less tomorrow than it is today and costs increase at a faster rate than incomes do. Prohibition gives rise to criminal enterprises which prey on the weakest among us.
@Tom Freeman right on Tom, I've been saying this for a long time as I have been homeless as a single mother with a newly adopted Grandson. It took over 5 years to get us off the streets into a decent apt. but everything took a gut wrenching heart-breaking 10 years off my life. I also have a large family by today's standards. I could write a book on how cold and dangerous it is living on San Diego's streets. Being a woman on top of that. I couldn't have the fortitude or luxury to use[it made my program stronger] to escape the harsh realities as I had to protect my 7 year old grandson constantly.The streets have a way of displaying failure. which the mayor refuses to see, or the District Attorneys that fill his head full of bad decisions.Or the City Council member[T.Gloria] person that has hustled funding during the past 8 years that was supposed to go to our mentally ill;and homeless vets. It has gone into cement and rocks, and flowery baskets hanging around Hillcrest.....and into the pockets of Investment bankers ie. SDHC.Mr Goria has used funding to enhance the gay neighbor hoods, where most of his interests were.Him and Toni Alkins who promised him a seat in Sacramento, for all his good deeds.and hustling..The only way to change,the conditions Downtown is to meet and solve the mistakes of the past,head on.One by one. First GET THE MENTALLY ILL A DAY CENTER. Somewhere where they can rest and be safe from the predators. Unfortunately now, I'm thinking that all that precious funding that has been misspent on pet projects, not only by Mr. Gloria;s irresponsibility and cold detachment for the District he was responsible for. but also for the rest of the City Council and Supervisiors who think they control the city instead of being the public servants their being paid for..
Do as much good as you can. LUKE 16 19-31
The sad and frustrating part of this story is that the cumbersome bureaucracy in San Diego keeps dragging its feet instead of doing what's needed to solve this problem AND that it's been going on for so long - years - without a strong and coordinated commitment to addressing homelessness.
One more plan is not going to do it. I'm sure there are boxes of plans in city offices. San Diego leaders and certain homeless advocates are dedicated to talking about solutions, but so far not dedicated to implementing anything significant. There's a difference.