Episode 5: Homelessness and Band-Aids - Getting to real, long-term action

(Click the play button below to listen to Episode 5 - 14:06 minutes)

In 2016, over 5,600 people slept on the streets every night in San Diego County. Nearly 4,000 more were homeless and cared for in some form of temporary housing such as a shelter.  The trend over the last several years in San Diego County is an increase in senior homelessness and an increase in chronically homeless individuals – those who remain on the streets for more than one year and have some further disability. Our Hope4Homeless plan pushes to address these and other critical need areas.

My commitment to addressing homelessness grew from a letter I received from my biological mother when I was in my 20s.    In the letter, she asked me to go and thank her friends at the Neil Good Day Center, which provided her with help and support when she herself was homeless in San Diego many years prior. I knew my mother had mental illness and was disabled, but I didn’t know the extent of her experience, and as I walked from my car at 17th and Island past the discarded needles, trash, and sadness on the faces of the homeless men and women around me, I felt strongly I had to do more. I joined the board of Rachel’s Women’s Center and began to look for ways to better address homelessness.

This episode details the specific challenges San Diego faces and explains the types of shifts in approach necessary to decrease the number of San Diegans who are experiencing homelessness. Critically, this episode also covers the long-term thinking necessary to reduce the number of people who ever enter the homeless system in the first place. Thanks for listening!

Omar Passons