This month’s Printed Blog is from an Editorial submitted to our local Beach & Bay Press to further community dialogue related to persons in our community experiencing homelessness and to publicize the screening of Tony – The Movie. The original posting can be found at this link.
Just recently in the middle of January I received some great news. A few weeks prior, I had been made aware of a young family who had recently moved to the Pacific Beach neighborhood with their two young children. Shortly after arriving, promises of work fell through, and they found themselves struggling to make ends meet and were at risk of losing the roof over their heads. The great news I received was an update that they had found shelter, qualified for housing assistance, and were beginning new jobs. My heart was warmed!
As a Pastor in a Church that serves a free meal to anyone who is hungry, I hear too many heart-breaking stories. While escaping homelessness – or the risk of homelessness – is certainly not uncommon, I wish these successes could be celebrated even more often.
It is fair to say that every resident in Pacific Beach is acutely aware of the increasing number of persons experiencing homelessness in this beautiful community. Non-profit organizations and churches providing services see increased need, and residents and business owners see more and more people in parks and along beaches and at intersections. In many cases, there is anger at seeing people in our neighborhoods asking for money or in need of showers. A few of the people experiencing homelessness have reached such desperation that they have turned to alcohol and other escapes, and even to theft. As a fellow resident, I understand that the anger expressed is because people want to feel comfortable and safe in their neighborhoods.
While petitions have been circulated and flyers have been distributed offering simple-sounding solutions, I would suggest that the increasing number of persons experiencing homelessness is not a simple problem. In the relationships that I have built over the last several years, every single person has a different reason for being in the situation in which they find themselves; and as such, the journey to escape homelessness will be different for each individual.
The beautiful thing about this fantastic community is that we are capable of tacking this complex problem. Having lived in several different regions of this country, I find Pacific Beach remarkable. This neighborhood is creative and resilient and intelligent and determined and caring! There are dedicated members of this community already working together to find creative solutions that balance care for persons experiencing homelessness with the need to keep our neighborhoods safe. This remarkable community can achieve this!
Pacific Beach Clean & Safe and Pacific Beach United Methodist Church are offering a free screening of Tony – The Movie on February 6, 2018, at 6:30pm at Pacific Beach UMC. The screening outlines one man’s experience of homelessness in San Diego and his quest for a solution as he interviews officials and activists. After the movie will be a Q&A with filmmakers and how local organizations are responding to the increased need.
Come to learn more about the complex challenge of homelessness in Pacific Beach and how we can work together toward creative solutions.