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For the past week, Maya Srikrishnan has been revealing the extent and causes of the South Bay’s hidden homelessness crisis.
Now, she’s written up a handy recap distilling the biggest findings from months of reporting on the vulnerable communities hidden away in junkyards, storage containers and crowded multiple families to an apartment.
Some agencies, including the ones that dole out the most money to alleviate homelessness, treat street homelessness as if it’s virtually the only type of homelessness. That means families like those in the South Bay, that couch surf at relatives’ homes or that cram into tiny trailers on lots that aren’t zoned for residents, are invisible when it comes to homeless counts.
Schools have stepped in as a major resource for these families, helping them with far more than conventional learning.
The border plays a major role in the South Bay’s unique housing situation — many families can’t find work without a green card, but can’t get a green card without a stable address, which requires a steady paycheck.
Because many homeless families in the South Bay are hidden out of sight, funding to help them remains elusive too.
And in case you missed this short web documentary zooming in on the plight of one family, check that out here.
San Diego Nabs Utah’s Homeless Honcho
The San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless is bringing on help from a big name. Gordon Walker was Utah’s former state director of housing and community development during a period of time when Utah saw incredible success at reversing the tide of homelessness. Now, he will be CEO of the task force, where he will be responsible for unifying public and private efforts to address homelessness in the entire county.
“Leaders in San Diego want Walker to get San Diego politicians, nonprofits and residents behind an overarching strategy to address exploding street homelessness countywide,” Lisa Halverstadt reports. While Walker comes in on a tide of success from Utah, San Diego’s problem is much deeper and larger, and exists in a political climate that may be less friendly to solutions that have worked elsewhere. There are also reports that Utah’s claimed 91 percent drop in homelessness was overstated due to changing definitions and classification mistakes.
• Citybeat looks into how San Diego is addressing its female homeless population compared to other cities.
Schools’ iPad Craze, Five Years Later
As a technologist, one of my favorite ongoing stories we’ve reported over the years is how local school districts a while back went all in on buying iPads for public school students, sometimes using bond money that won’t be paid off for decades to buy gadgets expected to last only a couple of years. That kind of long payment plan turned a $400 device into a $4,000 device (the district later got the price down to $700).
Now, inewsource reports that five years after Sweetwater Union High School District purchased 7,952 iPads for students, only 704 of them remain active. Lost, stolen, broken or maybe just dead of natural aging, Sweetwater says it has no way to measure the impact the iPads have had on student outcomes.
People’s Ordinace vs. Trash Flies
Flies in the neighborhood of Mission Beach become a problem mostly during summer months when tourism goes up and garbage cans start overflowing. San Diego leaders have determined the only solution for what ails the denizens of MB is to send out city garbage trucks to their neighborhood twice a week instead of the weekly schedule. City Attorney Mara Elliott has previously warned a free second trash pickup may solve the fly issue while opening up a legal issue, since it appears the city is favoring Mission Beach over all other neighborhoods, and is likely picking up trash for illegal vacation rentals to boot. The San Diego City Council told her to buzz off this month when it passed a budget funding the twice-weekly trash pickups anyway. (Union-Tribune)
• If law enforcement agencies want to hire people my age, they may have to rethink their anti-tattoo and anti-cannabis philosophies during the hiring process. (Union-Tribune)
• A billion-dollar project on the Chula Vista bay front, long a target of development efforts, has been unanimously approved to move forward by Chula Vista and Port leaders. (NBC 7)
• San Diegans are going to get a second opinion next time any water rate hikes are proposed. (Union-Tribune)
• Rattlesnake sightings are up. (10 News)
• San Diego Unified has finished testing the lead levels in water at its schools. It found two sites with high lead levels. (Union-Tribune)
• The New York Times has a glowing write-up of Summer Stephan’s work as deputy district attorney investigating and prosecuting sex trafficking.
• Wildfire is on notice: Fire Boss is coming to San Diego to scoop up huge amounts of water and deftly drop it onto wildfire with great accuracy. (Times of San Diego)