Tag: homeless

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Along Park Blvd

Yesterday afternoon, I walked 1.6 km (1 mile) from the Greyhound depot to the McDonald’s nearby San Diego High School, where my daughter graduated five years ago; my legs needed movement after being too long motionless during the three-hour ride from Long Beach. I had made an overnight-trip to see my niece Lynnae, who was on the West Coast for business.

Soon after the bus exited Interstate 5, I saw the extent of the city’s homeless crisis for the first time. Tents lined several blocks (at least) along what may have been National Avenue. According to the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless, the number of homeless people living unsheltered has increased 41 percent since 2014. There are 937 (recorded) tents, up 58 percent year over year. Data is current as of July.

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Clever Homeless Habitat

The Vermont Street bridge, passing over Washington, separates my neighborhood of University Heights from adjacent Hillcrest. It’s not uncommon to see tents below, as some of the area’s homeless seek shelter from the elements. But bright colors make them obvious.

While looking over the side, I saw something either new or so camouflaged it hadn’t previously caught my attention. At first, I thought a palm tree had collapsed or perhaps city workers had gathered fronds. But stepping back for different perspective, I could see an entrance. The Featured Image is a crop (see the original below the fold), shot using Leica Q at 12:02 p.m. PDT today. Vitals: f/4, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm. 

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The Man on the Street

This afternoon, while walking along Adams Ave. in Normal Heights, I passed what appeared to be a homeless man sitting on a cement step inside an abandoned storefront doorway. He was grizzled but neat, with the leathery-brown skin hue common among people overexposed to the Southwestern Sun. His hair and beard bled gray all over what might have one time been black.

As I passed, he stopped over, arms resting on knees, alongside a small, black luggage bag with wheels and pulled-out handle. About 5 meters beyond him, my pace slowed. I rarely carry cash but today had a 10 dollar bill, which is more money than I usually give—and he had asked for none. I turned around and walked back, finding him up and moving. We passed. I hesitated once more then spun back and spoke. 

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Francis’ People

I am quite surprised by the number of homeless people here in San Francisco, at least in the area around my hotel. I’ve seen more homeless or beggars (for money) in two days than a whole year back in D.C. The number of people is staggering.

Some folks are characters, and they know how to turn coins or greenbacks. One panhandler has an eye for tourists—or at least confused people, of which there are many. He roams Geary street (and perhaps elsewhere) asking bystanders if they need assistance finding something. His hope, I think, is that the help he gives will be returned in favor. He’s friendly and endearing. You want to give him money. 

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Man on the Train

Wednesday afternoon, while on the D.C. metro, I saw a homeless man working the train for change. Lots of loafers beg for money around Washington; they’re professional beggars whose job is collecting handouts, sometimes pretty aggressively.

But this guy looked truly down on his luck. I’m not tall, about 1.6 meters, and this guy, sporting a well-weathered sleeping bag, was shorter than me. He shuffled politely through the subway car, asking people for money. What surprised me was just how many folks gave him money. Unlike the professional beggars, which more typically use disposal cups, this guy took cash by hand. Like the others, I gave him some change; I wanted to give more but hadn’t hit the bank machine before going on a trip to New York. He literally got all that I had to give.