San Diego laid down a bed of sharp rocks under a highway overpass to deter homeless camps

We had a homeless camp set up on the periphery of our neighborhood a short time ago. I called the police a few times to get the homeless people to move on. So I’m sympathetic to the neighborhood concerns there. If what they did was wrong, I’m no better than they are.

As a society, we need to do better for our citizens than create an economy where sleeping under a highway overpass seems like your best option, and then taking that away from them too.

Some citizens of San Diego are urging the government to let the homeless set up micro-houses on vacant lots. Sounds like a good idea to me.

City decision to put rocks under overpass draws praise from residents, criticism from homeless advocates [Gary Warth – San Diego Union Tribune]

I saw the homeless man again today

He was in the same spot, this time sitting by the fence. I asked him if he knew about St. Vincent de Paul and if he’d ever been there. He said it was too far. I offered him $5 if he’d promise to to take the Trolley to SVDP and not hang around the neighborhood anymore. He said he’d promise and took the money. Of course he may well have been lying but I can’t think of anything else to do. If I see him again tomorrow I’ll talk to him some more. I’m pretty much out of ideas.

Homeless encounter

When I take Minnie on our hour-long afternoon walk, I go down Colorado Ave. to where it ends in a cul-de-sac and a chainlink fence with a sewage treatment plant beyond. To my right is a little wooded area, with a footpath leading down to the commercial street, Lake Murray Blvd. The footpath follows along the chainlink fence.

I saw a homeless man lying on the ground while walking Minnie at about 5 pm yesterday. He was lying asleep on a piece of cardboard.

I called La Mesa PD from my cell phone and they said they’d send someone. I believe them, but I still saw the man there when I returned with Minnie an hour later.

This afternoon about 4 pm: Same man, same place, this time blocking the whole path. Again, I called La Mesa PD, and they said they’d send someone. When I returned with Minnie an hour later, I saw the man walking up Lake Murray Blvd. Sure enough, he turned up the footpath and he was lying on the ground, same spot, when I passed by. I told him, “Hey, buddy, you can’t sleep here,” and he said he’d go somewhere else.

Next time I go walking, I’m bringing a printout of directions to St. Vincent de Paul and I’ll give him $10 for Trolley fare. I’m sympathetic to the plight of the homeless but he can’t sleep rough here.

Sometimes in the winter I find myself walking in the park after dusk. I see couples and individuals walking into the park, dressed in layers and carrying big bundles. I assume they’re homeless. That doesn’t bother me — I mean, it bothers me that they’re homeless and have to sleep rough, but I’m not concerned that our park is where they do it. They have to sleep somewhere. But not in our neighborhood.

A homeless person shares advice

Life is not black and white. It is shades of gray. Lying is not fun to do but sometimes it matters to survive. If lying keeps you from dying homeless, then you need to do it. Not huge lies but lies sometimes are nessesary. An example is if you are homeless you have to have an address and a private mail box is an address and if they ask you for an address for banking, for your drivers license, etc. you just tell them that is your new residence even though you don’t live there. If you are asked why you are parked somewhere for sleeping purposes and are questioned, just tell them you are sleeping there before work for a quick nap and that you will move on so you don’t get arrested. Sometimes lying is important to do. Same on applications. If you are over qualified, don’t let them know that. Just say you moved or lived somewhere else before or were traveling if they question you about your work gap. Lying sucks but it sometimes is imperitive to survival. I hate lying but this is the lesson I am learning now that I have no home. No home sucks. Survival is goal 1. Truth is a thing for people with jobs and the ability to survive without lying. Only lie if you have to but it is nessesary. A terrible lesson to learn this way.

LPT: A hard decade shows some important life tips. This is what I have learned. Please learn from my mistakes.

And a harsh response from a formerly homeless person:

LPT: Cautionary tales are one thing, but taking “pro tips” from a homeless person that he typed out on a borrowed computer, before he eats scraps, probably isn’t the person to take advice from.