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Can San Diego end homelessness? Should the region try? What would that even mean? I’m diving in to this topic, as we mentioned this morning.

Here are highlights from the dozens of emails and Twitter messages you’ve already sent in today as we go on this quest together.

Population: How big is the homeless population here? How many shelter beds are available? How many veterans are homeless? Parents with kids? How does San Diego’s homeless population compare to other cities in the country?

Resources: How well do the local nonprofits connected to dealing with homelessness talk to one another? What about the different cities, and the county?

Neighborhoods: What are the particular impacts of homelessness in Balboa Park, La Jolla, downtown, the San Diego River?

One reader wrote from a particular vantage point.

I live in Grant Hill, which is just south of Golden Hill, just east of East Village. We don’t have many homeless people out on the streets, but there are areas — like on F and G in between 24th and 25th — where people obviously are living in RVs. I am curious about those people.

Who are they? Why are they living there? How did they find that particular spot? Do the police ever try to roust them to get out of there? If a Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) person ever approached them, what kind of services would they be offered? Would they take them?

Why or why not?

I worry that a push to end homelessness downtown would result in an influx of homeless people into my neighborhood, where we don’t have the political capital to make a big stink and get them moved somewhere else, as would happen if they moved into Hillcrest, say, or Mission Hills …

Whatever happened with …

• … the city’s legal agreement not to issue tickets to people sleeping on the streets? If there become more opportunities to be sheltered inside, can the city’s police again enforce the city’s illegal lodging law?

• … Project 25? That’s the effort among a bunch of different groups to find housing and services for some of the region’s most vulnerable homeless people. The economic theory was that housing a small number of people who use a disproportionate amount of emergency services, hospitals and the police would make an outsize impact.

Reader Barbara Davenport wrote about that project. “I’d be very interested in learning how that initiative has played out, both for the recipients of services & for its place in the mosaic of local attempts to address homelessness,” she said.

Mythbusting

• “I’d like to know if it’s true that other states put their homeless people on a bus with a one-way ticket to San Diego,” one reader asked.

• “Why do we have beggars on our streets?” wrote another. “Is this a sign of the desperation of a few unfortunate souls, or is this a lifestyle/career choice for a group of people just looking for a handout?”

Thanks for your abundant interest. Keep your questions coming and stay tuned as I try to find answers to some of them.

I’m Kelly Bennett, reporter for Voice of San Diego. You can reach me directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531.

And follow Behind the Scene on Facebook.

Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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