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Project Offers Help And Hope To San Diego Homeless

Your browser does not support this object. View the original here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwlzK8XBw4w

Video published January 7, 2011 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: Hundreds of homeless San Diegans were at Golden Hall this week looking for help. They got an outpouring, from haircuts and dental care to blankets and toiletries, from more than 60 organizations and scores of volunteers. Tom Fudge, KPBS reporter and author of the blog On-Ramp, has the details on Project Homeless Connect.

Guest

Tom Fudge, KPBS reporter and author of the blog On-Ramp.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

HUNDREDS OF HOMELESS SAN DIEGANS WERE AT GOLDEN HALL THIS WEEK LOOKING FOR HELP AND THEY GOT AN OUTPOURING FROM HAIRCUTS TO DENTAL CARE TO BLANKETS AND TOILETRIES FROM MORE THAN 60 ORGANIZATIONS. THE AUTHOR OF THE BLOG ON-RAMP WAS THERE AND HE JOINS ME NOW WITH MORE ON PROJECT HOMELESS CONNECT. SO WHAT IS PROJECT HOMELESS CONNECT?

GLORIA, PROJECT HOMELESS CONNECT IS A PROJECT THIS HAS BEEN DONE IN SAN DIEGO AND HAS BEEN DONE IN IN SOME OTHER CALIFORNIA CITIES. THE IDEA IS TO TAKE ONE DAY WHERE YOU INVITE THE HOMELESS TO COME AND GET A NUMBER OF AGENCIES THERE WHO CAN HELP HOOK THESE PEOPLE UP HOPEFULLY WITH JOBS, WITH HOUSING, WITH DENTAL CARE, WITH MEDICAL CARE. ALSO, IT IS ORGANIZED IN SUCH A WAY THAT PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DONATE THINGS TO THE HOMELESS, THINGS THAT PEOPLE NEED LIVE AND SURVIVE ON THE STREETS, JACKETS, ROLLING SUITCASES, STUFF LIKE THAT, THERE'S ONE PLACE WHERE YOU CAN BRING EVERYTHING.

WE'VE CERTAINLY SEEM THE HOMELESS WANDERING THE STREETS ROLLING THINGS BUT THAT'S INTERESTING --ROLLING SUITCASES.

THAT WAS ONE OF THE THINGS THEY RECOMMENDED PEOPLE BRING BY.

DO YOU SEE MEN, WOMEN, CHILDREN, FAMILIES?

A BIT OF BOTH. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE ENVIRONMENT OF DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO WHERE THIS TOOK PLACE, YOU SEE A LOT OF HOMELESS MEN, MORE THAN WOMEN, MORE THAN CHILDREN, QUITE A FEW HOMELESS MEN. I TALKED TO AS MANY OF THEM AS I COULD. SPRURKS EVERYBODY'S GOT --OF COURSE, EVERYBODY'S GOT A STORY ONE PERSON SAID HE WAS HOMELESS BECAUSE HE WAS A CAREGIVER TO HIS BROTHER WHO HAD PANCREATIC BROTHER. THEY ENDED UP HOMELESS. ANOTHER PERSON SAID HE HAD A HOME UNTIL ARIZONA BUT WAS ARRESTED IN SAN DIEGO, SPENT SOME TIME IN JAIL AND ACCORDING TO THE TERMS OF HIS PROBATION, HE CAN'T LEAVE THE CITY, SO HE'S HOMELESS HERE. ANOTHER PERSON TOLD MEET MOST FAMILIAR STORY WAS I LOST MY JOB. I LOST MY CAR. I LOST MY HOME AND I'M ON THE STREET, SIMPLE AS THAT.

THEY WERE WILLING TO SHARE THESE STORIES WITH YOU?

YES.

WHY?

IT FEELS GOOD TO TELL PEOPLE YOUR STORY, AND ALSO, I THINK, THEY WERE IN A PLACE WHERE THEY FELT SAFE, WHERE THEY FELT LIKE THERE WERE PEOPLE TO TAKE CARE OF THEM, PEOPLE WHO WERE BEING GENEROUS TO THEM. THIS WAS ONE THING THAT WAS REMARKABLE ABOUT HOMELESS PROJECT CONNECT. THERE WAS A GOOD FEELING IN THE ROOM. THIS WAS A TIME WHEN THE HOMELESS COULD COME IN, EVEN IF THEY DIDN'T GET A JOB, EVEN IF THEY DIDN'T GET A PERMANENT PLACE TO STAY. THEY COULD BE INDOORS, GET SOME LUNCH AND COULD GET SOME FREE CLOTHING. SO THERE WAS GOOD FEELING ABOUT THE THING.

IS THAT WHAT THEY WERE LOOKING FOR? WERE THEY LOOKING FOR HOPEFULLY WALKING AWAY WITH A JOB.

PEOPLE WERE COMING FOR A WIDE VARIETY OF REASONS. YOU MENTIONED HAIRCUTS. I TALKED TO ONE OF THE WOMEN WHO ORGANIZED. SHE SAID ONE OF THE THINGS THEY DIDN'T BARGAIN IS HAIRCUTS. PEOPLE WANTED HAIRCUTS. PEOPLE CAME IN FOR DENTAL CARE. MOST OF THE PEOPLE SAID THEY WERE LOOKING FOR TWO THINGS -- HOUSING AND JOBS.

DID THEY GET THEM?

I DON'T KNOW. I'D HAVE TO FOLLOW UP TO FIND OUT. THERE WERE ORGANIZATIONS THAT TRIED TO HOOK THEM UP WITH JOBS. THERE WERE A LOT OF ORGANIZATIONS THERE THAT OFFERED TRANSITIONAL HOUSING AND EMERGENCY HOUSING. THE HOMELESS ARE A DIVERSE POPULATION. SOME OF THEM ACTUALLY DO LIVE ON THE STREETS AS YOU EXPECT. OTHER PEOPLE ARE LIVING IN SHELTERS. OTHERS MOVING FROM ONE HOME TO ANOTHER IF THEY HAPPEN TO HAVE ACQUAINTANCES IN SAN DIEGO.

WHAT I'M GATHERING FROM YOU SITTING HERE IS THAT THE GENERAL FEELING WAS GOOD FEELING. IT WASN'T HOPELESS, WAS IT?

NO. FOR ONE DAY, AT LEAST, THERE WAS A LOT OF HOPE, AND A LOT OF CHEER ON BOTH THE SIDES OF THE PEOPLE WHO WERE DONATING SERVICES AND ALSO ON THE SIDE OF THE HOMELESS. ONE THING THAT WAS KIND OF CURIOUS, THERE WERE A VARIETY OF THINGS THAT WERE BROUGHT IN. ONE OF THEM --SOMEBODY DONATED SEVERAL DOZEN TWEED BLUE-GREEN IF HE DORAS AND THERE WAS A TABLE FILLED WITH THE FEDORAS. SUDDENLY, YOU SAW PEOPLE WEARING THE STRANGE HATS. AND HOE --OCCASIONALLY YOU SAW THEM WEARING THEM.

YOU LEFT US WITH A VERY GOOD IMAGE. THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

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