All of us at inewsource thank our readers and neighbors for attending our recent Homelessness and Displacement Community Forum.
The event successfully brought together housing advocates, people who have experienced homelessness and members of the public who are concerned about the challenges the city of San Diego faces with thousands of people living in public places, including sidewalks, along river beds and in canyons.
Led by inewsource Director of Growth and Partnerships Justin Rushing, the panel featured Tamera Kohler, chief executive director of the Regional Task Force on Homelessness; Bob McElroy, president and CEO of Alpha Project; Daphyne Watson, executive director of Mental Health America San Diego; Emmy McClarty, a formerly unhoused San Diegan; and Curtis Howard, founder of LiveEX, which provides consulting on incarceration and homelessness from the perspective of lived experience.
The intent of the event was to educate the public on the challenges facing unhoused residents and shed light on opportunities to improve services by featuring perspectives of providers and those who’ve experienced homelessness.
Panelists discussed challenges facing the rapidly increasing unhoused population in San Diego, including a lack of regional affordable housing, difficulties in navigating public agencies that hold the keys to finding housing and a scarcity of services.
Many working class people and seniors are experiencing homelessness, panelists said, noting that major life events, such as losing a job or suffering debilitating injuries or illness can lead to loss of housing. The city’s unhoused residents also include people suffering from mental health crises or substance abuse.
Panelists offered several ideas they said could help fight the city’s housing and homelessness crisis, including collaboration among service providers; rethinking the restrictions placed on grants that fuel programs so that more people can be helped; doing a better job of creating access to services, recognizing that transportation is often an insurmountable barrier; increasing treatment opportunities for the people in mental crisis; and including people who have experienced homelessness in the development of policies and programs meant to serve unhoused people.
The panel is the first of what will be several community forums hosted by inewsource tackling the most pressing issues facing the city and region. Thank you again for your support and stay tuned for more.
The Homelessness and Displacement Community Forum was held June 28, 2023, at UC San Diego’s Park & Market, downtown San Diego. The event was sponsored by Alpha Project, Mental Health America San Diego and All of Us Are None.
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