Come learn more about homelessness issues at Pacific Beach event
by BOB RHODES
Published - 01/25/18 - 06:37 PM | 3150 views | 1 1 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Just recently, I received some great news. A few weeks prior, I had been made aware of a young family who had recently moved to Pacific Beach 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 PB is acutely aware of the increasing number of people experiencing homelessness in this beautiful community. Nonprofit 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 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 tackling this complex problem. Having lived in several different regions of this country, I find Pacific Beach remarkable. This area 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 community can achieve this!

Pacific Beach Clean & Safe and Pacific Beach United Methodist Church are offering a free screening of “Tony – The Movie” 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 6 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 challenge of homelessness in Pacific Beach and how we can work together toward creative solutions.

Bob Rhodes is pastor at Pacific Beach United Methodist Church.
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anonymous
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January 27, 2018
I think you should really consider how your community is affected by your actions.

Quality of life has been greatly reduced by the increase of homeless crimes in our neighbourhood which makes us fear for our safety. Without feeling safe ourselves, we do not have the means of helping those who need help. I have been a victim of homeless drug addict crime. We need food, shelter and safety and by providing one of those to a small population you call “a few” you are jeopardising a whole community of its safety. You are encouraging these people who need help to hang around in an area that does not provide real services for these people. They should be redirected to areas which provide homeless and drug addict services. Feeding people is easy, you should not just choose the easy option and really consider how you are single handedly changing our community to a less desirable place to live. You may justify your actions and self satisfaction but at some point you should open your heart and ears and think about how you are negatively affecting people. You might feel great and self serving and think you fill one stomach is great thing for one meal but you are ruining local businesses, families, and people’s safety.

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