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Politics

San Diego Resource Fair Helps Hundreds Of People Who Are Homeless

Roy Thomas gets ready for a flu and Hepatitis A shot at the 13th annual Project Homeless Connect inside Golden Hall, Jan. 30, 2019.
Matt Hoffman
Roy Thomas gets ready for a flu and Hepatitis A shot at the 13th annual Project Homeless Connect inside Golden Hall, Jan. 30, 2019.

Hundreds of people who are homeless turned out for the 13th annual Project Homeless Connect. The one-day event at Golden Hall in downtown is meant to help connect people to resources, including immediate and long-term needs.

Roy Thomas, 55, stopped by for a flu shot and the second dose of the Hepatitis A vaccine.

"So I’m OK now, right?" Thomas asked a nurse after getting the shots.

Thomas said he has been living on the streets for a year and wanted to take advantage of the resource fair Wednesday, which included getting his blood pressure checked.

"You are in the blue zone," a nurse told him. "The blue — is that good or bad?" Thomas asked.

His blood pressure was a little high, and Thomas said he needs to cut back on salt to lower it. One thing he wanted to do was get an eye exam, but he could not find that among the services offered.

San Diego Resource Fair Helps Hundreds Of People Who Are Homeless

"If you really take the resources they give you, yes, it can benefit you — but it’s up to you," Thomas said. "Like me, for example, all I want really is my visual and try to find a job, you know, get back in the workforce and get some better clothes and what not."

Thomas said he used to have a job and a home, but he had a heart attack and fell into debt, eventually losing everything.

"Some of us just need what you call a little boost, you know what I mean?" Thomas said. "And some of us just don’t want to boost up. But me, myself, I want to boost up. And yes, I need some help. I have a little — I don’t want to call it an addiction — but I love my beer."

Thomas said people on the streets are misunderstood.

"We are people — just like anybody else," he said. "It’s just that we’re having a hard time."

RELATED: For People On The Streets, Staying Dry During The Rain Is A Constant Struggle

He said he appreciates what the city of San Diego is doing to help people who are homeless, but said the mayor can do more.

"We need more help than what you’ve been doing," Thomas said. "We understand you’ve been doing what you can, but you’re able to do more. Need to start coming down here more and one-on-one conversations with some of these people down here — the homeless people. Some of us have a lot to say and there’s a lot of us out here that are in trouble that need help, and we can’t get that help because of the barriers with the red tape."

There were a number of other services at the resource fair Wednesday, including free haircuts, dental exams and a foot washing station.

The San Diego Housing Commission is the lead organizer of the resource fair. It said more than 100 service providers were in downtown for the event.

A spokesman from the commission said 905 people were served this year, up from 845 people the previous year.

The San Diego Housing Commission was the lead organizer of the 13th annual Project Homeless Connect, which is a one-day resource fair in downtown.

San Diego Resource Fair Helps Hundreds Of People Who Are Homeless
The San Diego Housing Commission was the lead organizer of the 13th annual Project Homeless Connect, which is a one-day resource fair in downtown.

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