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Group takes closer look at San Diego’s homeless population

 May 24, 2022 at 5:15 PM PDT

S1: New efforts for homeless populations who need extra help.
S2: There are a lot of people who are disabled and a lot of people who are older who use walkers. You see them out on the street.
S1: I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. This is KPBS Midday Edition. Support for the emotional and mental toll of high risk pregnancy.
S2: We have approximately about 50% to 20% of women struggling with postpartum depression. Now , on top of it , having women going through complicated pregnancies increases the risk for depression , anxiety.
S1: Filipino American veterans fight for recognition nearly 80 years after World War Two , and diversionary theater pays tribute to its roots with the play 86. That's ahead on Midday Edition. All people experiencing homelessness face challenges. But some groups within the homeless population face an even steeper climb. This year's point in time count by the Regional Task Force on Homelessness found increases in the number of senior disabled and black San Diegans who are living without permanent shelter. So now the task force is setting up ad hoc committees to find out why current programs aren't meeting the needs of those populations and how to address their specific needs. Joining me is San Diego Union Tribune reporter Gary Warth. And Gary , welcome to the program. Hi.
S2: Glad to be here.
S1: So the latest point in time count for San Diego was just released earlier this month. Remind us what it found out about the numbers of homeless seniors , disabled people and black San Diegans.
S2: There's like a thousand seniors who are 55 and up that's considered a senior. And for black people , it's like 25% of the people who are homeless are black and white. Alarming about that is that the overall population of black people in San Diego County is five or 6%. So they're overrepresented in the overall general homeless population. And this ad hoc committee is looking at why they are. And the number of people who are older , 5000 people out of like 8000 people are older than 55. And that number has been , I think , around the same for for a while. And we've noticed for a while that there are a lot of people who are disabled and a lot of people who are older , people who use walkers and wheelchairs. You see them out on the street.
S1: So the Regional Task Force on Homelessness has now set up three ad hoc committees to address these groups. And the idea comes from the successful effort to decrease homelessness among veterans.
S2: And the 2020 count found there's now 37,000 homeless vets. So there's still a lot of homeless vets. But I understand that in that time , the population decreased by like 50%. There was federal funding , state funding. There was local efforts. There was an increase in supportive services for veterans families. So I think it was just a concerted effort and just the idea we were uncomfortable thinking that our veterans are homeless out there and there was also a disproportionate amount of veterans who were homeless compared to the general population. So they've been successful with that and they're looking at taking the same strategy , just looking at their populations here locally and maybe we can do something to change those numbers.
S2: So a lot of things combined for the population. And I know from talking with with a couple other people that sometimes it's just really hard to navigate the system. So if you already have some disadvantages in your life and you're kind of thrown into homelessness and there's not a lot of effort taking people and walking them through the system , there can be some confusion. Like a gentleman I talked to Herman Lewis. He said he or he became homeless and wasn't sure where to look and wouldn't help. So that didn't help. So there's all kinds of reasons why that number may may be high. But in his case and other people I talked to said there's racism involved , it's harder to get housing than , you know , there's just some disadvantages just going into it for them that maybe when they come out with their recommendations , they'll have some ideas about how to address those.
S1: And you spoke with several older and disabled people who are living unsheltered.
S2: The woman who I mentioned in the story , she's in a wheelchair. She's older , as bad as it is on the street for her. She thinks that it would be even worse. And in a shelter , though , you know that she gets agitated with people around her. I saw that happen. But she thinks it would be even worse if she was in a shelter with a whole lot of people around her and she just doesn't think that she could take it. So one said that ad hoc committee is looking at , as they've talked about this for a while , about maybe have a shelter just for older people. And there's lots of things maybe they should do for the shelters that exist that already have older people. And there's some better accommodations they can make and better your hands on services that they could provide for them.
S1: So how is the effort going to find supportive ? Housing for these vulnerable groups.
S2: But supportive housing does exist. There is supportive housing. And there's there's a project I know of in Oceanside that is going to be specifically for older seniors that that have mental issues. You know , that hasn't broken down yet. But there there are efforts to provide more housing for four people. The St Teresa of Calcutta just opened up and that is 407 units for homeless people. Father Jones did that. Many of the units are AA compliant. A woman who runs that hotel program for homeless people. I talked to her and she said there's just not enough. They should have more ADA units because there's just a lot of people who are in need who are older and they're homeless and they have disabilities. So do you need more housing just overall , as everyone knows , and probably need more housing that will accommodate these seniors and people who have disabilities as well.
S1: Now , in this year's point in time count , there was also a dramatic increase in the number of families who are homeless.
S2: But to have a couple of more shelters and these would be non congregate shelters. And what that means is it's not a big dorm like the tents that we see , but probably more like a hotel and would be a shelter that people might have the rooms and one would be for families and another would be for older people. So they are for the first time looking at specific needs for for older people in a shelter. There have been shelters for families. There have been shelters like Rachel's. And there's going to be a new shelter opening up downtown for for women and then another shelter and home for women with children. But Father Joe's also has shelter space for families. They have family beds in Golden Hall , though , so they have addressed families. But yeah , that point home count numbers showed that there had been an increase. So they're looking at bringing more jobs for families. And as I said , for the first time , creating some beds specifically for people who are older.
S1: I've been speaking with San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Gary Warth. Gary , thank you so much.
S2: Thanks for having me. Anytime.
S3: May his Mental Health Awareness Month and the Scripts Clinic Maternal and Fetal Medicine Program is partnering with the nonprofit Miracle Babies to launch a new program this month called My Brain and My Baby. The program will expand access to mental health therapists within 72 hours of a diagnosis to mothers experiencing high risk pregnancies. Joining me to discuss the new program and mental health diagnosis among expecting mothers is Dr. Sean Donny Osmond , medical director of the Scripps Clinic Maternal and Fetal Medicine Program , and Sheila Kubota , clinical director of the Miracle Babies. My Brain and My Baby Program. Welcome to you both. Hi.
S4: Hi. Thank you so much.
S2: Thank you so much for having us.
S3: Dr. Donny Osmond , tell us about the new. My Brain and my baby program launching this month and why you felt a program like this is so important to offer to moms right now.
S2: As you know , complicated pregnancies are on the rise across the United States. They've increased by approximately 16% from 2014 to 2018 , according to a national study. And so with this , unfortunately , comes a lot of stress and anxiety. And as you can imagine , we have the proximity about 15% to 20% of women struggling with postpartum depression. Now , on top of it , having women going through complicated pregnancies increases the risk for depression , anxiety. And so therefore , you know , it's imperative for us as health care providers to be able to provide this type of care to our patients who are struggling with this.
S2: And so we came up with 72 hours just because of logistic issues as far as staffing. And also we wanted to come up with a timeframe that's reasonable and acceptable for a patient who screens positive for depression or anxiety to be able to see someone with in a timely fashion. So it's really , to be honest with you , we pulled this together and we're going to trial it.
S2: And , you know , especially during the COVID pandemic. And this has really affected many of our women. And since pregnancy complications are on the rise , many of these women are already coming in with complications in their pregnancies that increase the risk for depression , anxiety. And many of these patients are really left on their own between their appointments. You know , so wonderful woman comes to the office and is now diagnosed with a baby with a heart defect. You know , a lot of times after the appointment , they have a lot of questions. So they go on the Internet , they talk to friends. They message , for example , that , you know , the physician through EMR. But a lot of times , again , they're very much left alone. And so if there's any underlying genetic predispositions for depression or anxiety , that can certainly increase the risk. Many times we don't understand why patients may end up having depression , anxiety , especially in the postpartum period. But these women are at a significant high risk for feeling sad , and they need someone to be able to talk to it. They need to be able to speak to a professional. They need to know that they're being cared for , that they're being listened to.
S2: So typically it's between 24 to 28 weeks and in the postpartum period. So within the first two weeks of their delivery. So typically we see patients in two weeks and then again in six weeks for the postpartum visits to do a mood check. And everyone should receive a screening tool. And if they screen a certain score and they're obviously at an increased risk. The problem lies cheap , where once they screen high , we don't know where to send it. And , you know , there's health plans. There are , you know , restrictions. So patients have to go through authorizations. So , you know , there's a delay in getting patients to be seen. And that's , again , one of the areas that we want to fill in that gap , make sure the patient , as soon as she has a positive screening test or verbalize that she's not well , that she's able to connect with a professional.
S4: Anybody that works in our program is somebody that has background history in working with either high risk pregnancies , moms that have babies in the neonatal intensive care unit , because typically that goes hand in hand with a high risk pregnancy and maternal mental health conditions , training in general. So we know how difficult it is to even reach out and seek help. So we're going to warmly wraparound them from the beginning , let them know that it's not their fault , they're not alone. And then we will begin individual therapy sessions over telemedicine , help with them and then also. Group sessions over telemedicine. So there are no barriers to access or day care and we will be linking them to a long term care provider in the community. So that way we're going to do the initial crisis intervention , stabilize them and kind of really introduce them to the aspect of therapy and how it can be helpful. And then because there are so many longer term risks and increased risk in getting more maternal mental health conditions , the farther out postpartum they get , then we want to make sure that they already know and have access to other services in the community who accept their insurance and who specialize in mental health.
S3: Sheila , are some mothers hesitant to express that they need help from mental health professionals ? Absolutely.
S4: There is a big misunderstanding. Often when somebody expresses that , they maybe have thoughts that they're struggling with , particularly if you're concerned about your ability to bond and attach with your baby if you weren't attached to the pregnancy. There are times with OCD , obsessive compulsive disorder , where you have disturbing thoughts at times and it scares you. And you think , if somebody's going to take my child away , will they call Child Protective Services as well ? Well , they say that I can't be with my baby. And that's where a mental health professional who specializes in maternal mental health can make that distinction. And they can really suss out whether or not this is indeed a serious concern for psychosis , which is real but very rare versus more common anxiety , OCD or depression. And that is where so many of the moms , they just feel like nobody talks about these things. Am I the only one ? And they get scared and then they don't ask for help.
S4: Yes. I think all across the board , especially during the pandemic and these times of people really exploring what the profession is that they're in and a lot of burnout and a lot of health care providers , mental health providers have been experiencing a lot of burnout. And so there is a lack of mental health professionals , particularly maternal mental health , and those who understand the chronic medical illnesses going hand-in-hand with high risk pregnancies or insecure admission. And then those that do specialize and are wonderful in our community through postpartum health alliance or postpartum support , international and people that are connected , they're they're so full and it's limited. They don't accept all different types of insurance. And particularly there's a real deficit in those who accept medical or free services.
S4: WW W dot miracle babies dot org or they can also find us at Instagram at my brain and my baby. And we're doing a lot of maternal mental health advocacy there , just at least to get the word out to people that this is something real and they're not alone.
S3: I have been speaking with Dr. Shaun Donovan , medical director of the Scripps Clinic Maternal and Fetal Medicine Program , and Sheila Scarborough , clinical director of the Miracle Babies My Brain and My Baby Program. Thanks to you both.
S4: Thank you.
S2: Thank you for having us.
S3: You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. Starting in June , 6 million Californians will face new water restrictions. For many people , that will mean watering their yards twice or even just once a week per regulations. Some residents are ready. Others not so much. For the California report , Casey RW Reporter Kaylee Wells has this tale of two yards.
S4: Mickelson's dark green , manicured oasis in the middle of the San Gabriel Valley has azaleas , dahlias , lush green lawn and a dogwood tree in the back.
S5: So it's a very unique and fresh mix for Southern California , very green and very wet. I am unapologetically a water user in this yard.
S4: He runs his three zones of sprinklers about 10 minutes every day in the summer. Well , I ran those numbers through a water calculator that the Metropolitan Water District recommends. Looks like his family's using about 50% more water per person than the average , and most of it is going toward the yard. Which means this new outdoor water restriction that'll likely cut his outdoor water use back to once per week is going to be pretty rough on his landscape. Well , that is if he follows the rules.
S5: I grew up saying that you can judge a man by his lawn. So the lawn and going , I'm going to go before the lawn is they're going to they're going to take me away. And this is going to be an empty property before the lawn goes.
S4: So he'll keep running his sprinklers every day and he'll pay the fines if they come. Besides , he says , What are they going to do.
S4: Probably not. Some water districts in Southern California haven't laid out extra consequences for people who don't comply. Others will install a device that restricts water flow to your house after you break the rules a few times. So if consequences like that are looming for some.
S4: He's a certified California naturalist. He's a former middle school science teacher. And if Austin's yard is a work of art , this one is a celebration of nature. There are little flowers on big bushes scattered between patches of mulch. But looking at it wasn't the best part. Sometimes we'd stop to admire a hummingbird or to pollinating the flowers. And then there was the smell.
S5: Smells like mountains , doesn't it ? Mm hmm. The fragrant pitcher , sage , as is common name.
S4: Everything in here is native to either California or at least somewhere nearby. So they're tolerant of drought. Like Orson Gray put this landscape in about two years ago. Unlike Austin , he's watered these plants six times total in two years.
S5: And you're standing in here , and some of these plants are taller than you are. Yeah. Yeah. And we've had a drought.
S4: That's one way to solve excessive outdoor water use. But it's not something Austin will go for.
S5: They don't look like what I like to go for. It's a matter of taste , I guess.
S4: So what happens if Austin cuts back his water ? Well , Gray says the good news is it probably won't be as bad as you'd think.
S5: Most people overwater all their plants all the time. Forget about the drought. Water less frequently and more deeply. That's better for the plants. A little sprinkle every day is terrible.
S4: Because a lot of the sprinkler mist evaporates anyway. And after a few minutes the water is coming too fast. So it runs off the top of the soil and into the street without soaking deep enough to reach all the roots. Other residents are experimenting with drip irrigation. It saves a lot of water to bury a hose under the soil so the water seeps directly into the ground. So much so that some water districts make exceptions for systems like those. So far , these water restrictions only apply to water agencies that get most of their water from the state water project , which is mostly stored in Northern California. The cities that pull their water from the Colorado River haven't been targeted yet. So the lush green lawns lining the streets of places like Beverly Hills , Burbank and Irvine are safe for now. I'm Kelly Wells in Los Angeles.
S1: As the median home price in San Diego keeps rising , lots of people are being priced out of the market , and that even includes investors. A report from a real estate data analyst finds the high price of a single family home in San Diego is cutting into profits from rents , making such purchases less attractive to outside investors. Could that be good , bad or indifferent for San Diego's housing market ? Joining me is San Diego Union-Tribune , senior business reporter Philip Molnar. And , Phil , welcome back.
S2: Thank you so much for having me.
S1: Now remind us what the current average prices for a single family home in San Diego.
S2: The median for a resale single family house is now $950,000. So it is approaching that 1 million mark. So we've hit a real record in the past few months.
S2: So for a single family house in San Diego , you can expect to get about $3,400 a month. Sort of an average , if you imagine that's usually like a three bedroom single family house. So it's pretty much one of the most expensive things you can rent.
S1: Yeah , it's it's a pretty high rent.
S2: And what they found is across 212 different counties in the United States , about 72% of the counties , including San Diego County , found that the purchase price is so high now that it makes it very difficult to make a profit in the first year. So , for example , according to their their research , if you were to buy a house and pay all the money and then start renting out right away , nationally speaking , you could get about a 7% return on investment that first year. In San Diego , it's less at 5.1%. And that actually puts us in the territory of being one of the places you might not want to actually buy a single family home and rent it out , whereas there's other parts of the country that are cheaper and you can actually get a better return on investment that year as opposed to a lot of our coastal California markets.
S2: But I always get nervous at real estate reporting because I don't know if home prices are going to go down , if rent prices are going to go down. Rent has been going up very fast here in San Diego County. But I have noticed , at least in the last couple of months , it seems to have sort of stabilized a little bit. So nobody could say for sure what's going to happen. But yeah , more than likely , given the history of San Diego County , home prices will go up and rent will go up. So that can be factored into your decision , too.
S2: So institutional investors in San Diego County made up 3% of home sales in San Diego County in the first quarter of this year. That is very low compared to other parts of the nation. Just to give you an example. Phoenix , about 12% of purchases were from institutional investors and 14% were in Atlanta. So , you know , 3% of home purchases come in in the last in the first quarter. I mean , let's say best case scenario , that's like around like 300 or 400 homes. So you're not is competing with institutional investors as much as these other parts of the country. So whereas you might be fighting with like 15 other people to make an offer on that single family house , at least you might not have to worry about an institutional investor. It's still possible , but they usually come in. They can do a cash sale , they can make that happen really quick and it can make it tough to compete. So at least that's one thing San Diego has going for it. However , if our prices ever go down , you can probably expect those institutional investors to start looking more at San Diego and they'll be back. So it's not so much of a win win situation because those buyers are still dealing with very high prices.
S1: And before we go , let me ask you if we're seeing any effect at all of higher interest rates on San Diego home prices.
S2: So at the moment , we don't have any data that home prices are going down at all. They've continue to accelerate with interest rates. Buyers have mainly decided they need to get a house right now or they're going to face higher interest rates in the future. And I don't have a crystal ball. I can't tell you if interest rates are going to go up more. But a lot of buyers think that's going to happen. The only thing that might give some hope to potential buyers out there , I. Have noticed. So in the last month , about 5% of homes in San Diego County have had a price reduction. That is very rare for a round here. That's the highest in at least 40 years. So is that because of interest rates ? Likely. It's sure it's a factor. But yes , there's that one thing the buyers need to keep in mind is you might be facing several offers for whatever home you're trying to buy , but it's not as bad as it was last year at this time. So you might have you might be competing against three other offers as opposed to 15. So that's the situation right now on the ground.
S1: As the best we can do. It's not as bad as it was. Yes.
S2: Yes.
S1: I've been speaking with San Diego Union-Tribune , senior business reporter Phillip Molnar. Thank you so much.
S2: Thank you for having me.
S3: A Long Walk , directed by T.S. Botkin , was recently featured at the July Film Festival. The documentary highlights Filipino American veterans during World War Two and how the U.S. erased their service and denied their benefits. Now the fight for recognition and justice continues. Joe Garbanzo has been at the front line of that fight. He is a regional deputy director with the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project and also California state president of AARP. Joe , welcome.
S6: Thank you. And thank you for giving us the time to share the story.
S3: This documentary , A Long March , really tells the history of Filipino American veterans during World War Two. But it's a history that's been erased. Talk a bit about that.
S6: It's a marginalized story. And there are many factors that I think contributed to why this story has not been told. Right. They would say some people would say , you know , it's a racial issue. The other is financial , perhaps because the story tells about a promised compensation and benefits to a group of veterans. And that promise was not honored when the Rescission Act of 1946 , which is the law that prevented recognition and compensation of this veterans , was legislated and became a law. The focus was financial. America did not want to spend. When I say America , the elected officials , the Congress did not see value and a need to allocate more dollars to compensate veterans who come from the Philippines. So I think it's a combination of reasons that prevented this story to be told.
S3: And tell me about the service of Filipino American veterans during World War Two.
S6: These veterans served during World War two , 1941 , 46 , in the Philippine Theater of War. They served with Americans under the leadership of General Douglas MacArthur , fighting the Japanese at that time. And most of them were captured and escaped and fought as a regular army during the war and was part of the a group of veterans who successfully took over the occupation of the Philippines from the Japanese. So it is a heroic story.
S6: Right. They were entitled to veterans compensation. They are entitled to veterans health care benefits and all the benefits that go with serving during the war. Now , these benefits are not entitlements. They are benefits given in due recognition of services and sacrifice rendered. So it's not only Filipino and American veterans who were affected by this. You know , other groups had similar kind of experiences. But fast forward to now the recession act that prevented , you know , groups like Chinese and Japanese not to be recognized and not to be compensated. All of these legislations were repealed. So there's a history here. It's not only Filipinos and Filipino Americans who served that were excluded. There were other groups that were excluded. But these groups have gotten their benefits in lieu of the the recession act for their group being vacated.
S6: So it's a law. And most of the veterans are in their nineties or older. I suspect that maybe a high percentage , 90% plus , are no longer around. So my own opinion , based on my conversations with the living veterans and there are only a few of them , the their families and next of kin , it is important for them to get recognized. That's why you have the US Congressional Gold Medal , which is part of the. Long March documentary. So they appreciated the recognition by the US Congress with the US Congressional Gold Medal. But they want the respect. They want to be recognized as having served. And so the recession of 1946 when repealed. Well , right. The wrong. That was done.
S3: While this documentary puts this history on record to raise awareness. Your organization , the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project , serves that mission to tell me a bit about what it is you all are doing.
S6: The Filipino Veterans Recognition Education Project is also working with the Smithsonian Museum in Washington , D.C. to display the US Congressional Gold Medal , the original one , and continue to tell the story about these veterans as part of the Smithsonian exhibit and to continue to tell the story. That's why the documentary that Tammy and others put together is part of what the Filipino Veterans Recognition Education Project is trying to do. So the story will not be forgotten , that it be shared , and we're hoping that it become part of the curriculum in the middle school , especially in communities where there is a significant Filipino American community. So that is underway , that is ongoing. And the film , I think , advances the the effort in making this story more mainstream. And it's a compelling story. It holds no punches in terms of the honesty of this story. So I think this adds to the storytelling that will help the cause of the veterans and their families.
S3: I've been speaking with Joe Garbanzo , regional deputy director with the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project , and also California state president of AARP. Joe , thanks so much for joining us.
S6: You bet.
S3: The film , A Long March is available to watch on demand until May 30th. For more information , visit KPBS dot org.
S1: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. Diversionary Theatre was founded in 1986 in response to the AIDS crisis and in an effort to give voice to the gay community , it pays tribute to its roots this month by hosting the world premiere of 86. The new musical is based on David B Feinberg's book and looks to New York in 1986 as the queer community confronts the AIDS epidemic. KPBS arts reporter Beth ACCOMANDO speaks with director Kevin Newbury about the play and its themes.
S4: Kevin , you are directing 86 at Diversionary Theatre , but this is based on a book by David Feinberg and remind people what that book was about and why it was important.
S2: Yes , I am indeed directing 86 and it's such an honor to be here at Diversionary in San Diego. So David Feinberg published 86 in 1988 , and it was really one of the first pieces of gay fiction that looked at the AIDS crisis. And the first part of the book is set in 1980 before everything happened. And the second part is set in 1986 , dealing with the fallout of AIDS. And what's so exciting about the book is that it's an intimate portrait of one man's journey through the landscape of New York in the eighties. And it's full of pain and joy and humor , and it really taps into the entire zeitgeisty of the queer experience in New York at the time.
S4: Now , this has been adapted into a musical , and it's having its world premiere at Diversionary Theatre.
S2: So Diversionary Theatre was founded in 1986 in response to the AIDS crisis and our musical like the book takes place from 1980 to 1986. So to be in this space , this company that specializes in community and building queer community here in San Diego is just extraordinary. Talk about life mirroring art. Here we are. We're this incredible group of queer artists and our allies making something about. And for our community , it's all about gay joy and queer joy and community. But it's also a very sexy show. I mean , the the Dénouement is in a bathhouse. And what does it mean to to build community and make connections ? And what happens when the results of those connections lead to something that affected generations ? So it's been a really wonderful , serendipitous experience to be here building this show with this company.
S2: But our species is learning how to connect and reconnect again after an incredible shared trauma of isolation , of being pulled apart from our community due to this current pandemic. So what can we learn about how a community navigated the pandemic that came before the AIDS crisis in the 1980s ? And this show is ultimately about connection and community and joy. The audience will leave dancing and singing and also celebrating the generation that came before us , those we lost , those that survived , and those that carried the torch to give us the rights that we have now.
S4: There's one significant difference between the current pandemic and the AIDS pandemic. COVID was perceived pretty much from the beginning as affecting everyone. But one thing that hindered the response to the AIDS pandemic was that it was stigmatized by the media and politicians as being something that only affected the gay community.
S2: So I am 44 years old. I was born in 1977 , so I am right in between the two generations. So when I was growing up , all I saw on television was if you were gay , you were going to die and how our government was doing nothing about it. And then I moved to New York in the year 2000 and from the state of Maine. And I and I didn't really know anyone that died of AIDS. I was just young enough that. I wasn't deeply immersed in the queer community at the time , but I am old enough that that's the only message that I saw on TV growing up. And you know how our government let us die by the tens of thousands and did nothing about AIDS. And so we started acting up and and protesting and forming community to actually get the rights to basic health services. So , you know , Ronald Reagan didn't even mention the word until the late eighties. And that's only because Elizabeth Taylor made him do it in memory of Rock Hudson. It took Rock Hudson dying for anyone to start paying attention. So I consider it my duty as an artist and a director to serve as a bridge between those two generations , between the between all generations. And that's what diversionary does so beautifully. They they work with queer youth and queer elders and everybody in between to share their stories , to learn about our history. And it's so important to learn about the shoulders that we stand on to get where we are today , to have gotten to where we are today. So it's a very deep dive into our shared queer history , all set to music. It feels like a new idea , actually.
S4: And talk about staging this at Diversionary because they have a very intimate setting for this. And doing a musical on that space must be you must connect with the audience quite well.
S2: You really do. The intimacy of diversionary is so perfect for 86 , and Sam's music is so every song is a bop , as the kids would say , right ? You want to dance to each one , even the emotional things. Jeremy's book is so funny and incisive , and one moment you're crying. The next minute you're laughing. And it turns on a dime. And to be in the space up close and personal , watching them tell this story is so thrilling. And what I love about working in a space like Diversionary is that you get down to the essentials. What do you really need to tell the story ? And what you really need is a first rate cast , a disco ball and incredible light system , you know , and a band that is actually on stage making music that pours through the audience. You literally feel the vibrations of every note and it feels like you're on stage with them. And I say to everybody , make sure that you bring tissues. Because even though there's a lot of joy and laughter , you're going to leave dancing. But there's a few places where you're probably going to tear up a little bit , and especially since audiences are still wearing masks , I want to make sure that you can wipe those tears away effectively. So it's a really , really thrilling to be this close to this calibre of acting and storytelling. I feel so lucky to be in the room every day.
S2: You know , Fran Lebowitz talks about this , that the gay audiences , that the gay uncles that took their nieces and nephews and mothers and lovers to the ballet , to the opera , to the theatre that taught them about other ways of thinking about relationships and sexuality. And we lost an entire generation. And that through line of what we lost is something that my generation and the generation behind me is just now starting to really think about. And this show and this theatre is about getting in touch with that. It's about renewing those connections , building bridges between all generations of our queer community , and to be making art in a theatre that specializes in building those bridges in 2022. In a time where certain states are saying , we can't even talk about who we are in the public school system , like the work is urgent and deeply spiritual and it's a great honour to be able to do it.
S4: I want to thank you very much for talking about 86.
S2: Thank you.
S1: That was Beth ACCOMANDO speaking with director Kevin Newbury. 86 has its world premiere at Diversionary Theatre this weekend and runs through June 12th.

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This year’s point-in-time count by the Regional Task Force on Homelessness found increases in the number of senior, disabled and Black San Diegans who are living without permanent shelter. The task force is setting up ad-hoc committees to find out why current programs aren’t meeting the needs of those populations and how to address those needs. Next, a new program to expand access to therapists for mothers experiencing high-risk pregnancies. Plus, a report from a real estate data analyst finds high prices are making single-family homes less attractive to outside investors. Then, “A Long Walk” highlights Filipino American veterans during WWII and how the U.S. erased their service and denied their benefits. Now the fight for recognition and justice continues. Also, starting in June, six million Californian's will face new water restrictions. For many people that'll mean watering their yards twice, or even just once a week - per regulations. Some residents are ready, others not so much. And finally, a new musical, based on David B. Feinberg's book, looks to New York in 1986 as the queer community confronts the AIDS epidemic.