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We highlighted a bunch of different perspectives on homelessness in San Diego at our event at the city’s emergency winter tent shelter in Barrio Logan on Thursday. If you missed it, or want to catch up, we’ve got videos of our five presenters and a taste of the Q-and-A that followed, below. (You can also see photos from the evening.)
We tried a new format for the event. We asked each of the five speakers to:
• share one number that tells a story about homelessness
• tell the story of a person who is or was homeless
• describe a program that is having a measurable impact on reducing homelessness
• highlight a lingering problem
Here’s Kelly Knight, who runs outreach for the Clean and Safe program at the Downtown San Diego Partnership. She called for more collaboration between agencies, and help to keep programs like her “Work Your Way Home” effort afloat.
Danny McCray runs security and logistics for the Girls Think Tank Transitional Storage Center. He told his personal story and said the center where 250 people can store their belongings needs more space and a permanent home.
Marc Stevenson is a St. Vincent de Paul Village social worker who directs Project 25, a program funded by the United Way. He described the effort of finding and housing 35 of the county’s most frequent users of emergency services like hospitals and jails.
Kimberly Becker came through several different programs that Catholic Charities San Diego provides for homeless women. She told a moving story of her recovery over the last two years from alcohol and drug addiction. She said she hadn’t realized until she put her story together to share it on Thursday that she had accomplished so much.
Rick Schnell, a San Diego Police Department sergeant, acknowledged he comes from a different angle. “Kind of strange, right? The police department here, talking about homelessness?” he said. But he highlighted the efforts of the department’s Homeless Outreach Team and Serial Inebriate Program and said his team doesn’t have anywhere to send homeless people when there aren’t any open shelter beds.
After the panel members spoke, I asked them several questions provided by the audience. Schnell got a big laugh when he pretended he’d never seen the tent settlements along local freeways. Here’s a discussion of those settlements as microcosms of society:
I’m sending a few more outstanding questions to our speakers. Let me know what you still want to know after watching these, or what sticks with you. Just leave a comment below.
All videos by Sam Hodgson.
I’m Kelly Bennett, reporter for Voice of San Diego. You can reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.325.0531.