Tag: homeless

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The Sleeper

I rarely photograph San Diego homeless, as a silent sign of respect. But, today, one gentlemen so surprised me that I felt compelled to take the shot—well, several. Walking East on Meade Ave., I saw him sleeping on the sidewalk across the way, where Mission cuts diagonally—think 45 degrees—from the intersection at Park Blvd.

The sleep mask is what intrigued me. He looked so unusually comfortable, lying on the cement, which was surprising, too. Foot and vehicular traffic is fairly brisk, and noisy, on a Friday afternoon; then there is the bus stop—a couple meters away, at most. Yet he looked so serene and lay motionless, but in an open space where homeless are otherwise uncommon.

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Feel Free to Park Overnight

As part of the settlement of a class-action lawsuit, San Diego will no longer enforce overnight parking laws that restrict where some vehicles can park. The prohibition has burdened people sleeping in RVs and vans, particularly, with costly tickets or tows.

Section 86.0139 of the San Diego Municipal Code states: “It is unlawful for any person to park or leave standing upon any public street, park road, or parking lot, any oversized vehicle, non-motorized vehicle, or recreational vehicle between the hours of 2:00 am and 6:00 am”.

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You Can’t…

Irony is sometimes what you make it—or not. You decide, regarding my explanation about the Featured Image. Yesterday, I walked by the Sun Bum display inside Ralph’s and gaped. Hillcrest is one of San Diego’s homeless hangouts, and the street folk have, ah, sticky fingers. Yes, thievery.

Local street sleepers are blamed. Meaning: The supermarket doesn’t trust the bum, which is why so many items for sale are in locked displays. Buying batteries? Ask a clerk. Personal hygiene products? You will need assistance getting access to some of those, too. I could go on, but you get the point—right?

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Coin Collection

While waiting outside the Smart & Final for my wife, who was grocery shopping (bless her!), I hung out in the parking lot by the wall where, on the other side, homeless folk sometimes hang out. On the ledge, I came upon a small collection of coins.

My question: Did some good Samaritan leave loose change for the unhoused (hate that term) to find, or were the coins perhaps gathered and forgotten? Either, or neither, could be true.

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A Life Reduced

For Dec. 9, 2023—before encountering the problem delaying new posts—I had planned to share some sightings in Hillcrest that same day. I had ventured there to drop off at FedEx a box containing my wife’s Galaxy Tab S8. For holiday sales, Samsung offered insanely generous $600 trade-in against the S9 Ultra, which I ordered for me and Annie happily inherited my S8 Plus. Expect a future first-impression about the larger tablet.

The homeless are prominent fixtures along University Avenue in, ah, Hellcrest. Used to be that street dwellers had crusty, weathered appearances; many had problems with alcohol, drugs, or mental illness—perhaps all three. But during the past 12 months or so, particularly, more of San Diego’s homeless appear to be new to the streets, older in age, or both. Many of them cart along more belongings—shopping carts carrying real possessions, not the debris collected hunter-gather style by long-time wanderers.

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Where is Everybody?

Walking about my neighborhood of University Heights last night, I passed few people on the streets. Some small crowds gathered at several restaurants along El Cajon Blvd, but few folks appeared elsewhere. The Featured Image, taken at 8:28 p.m. PDT, provides timeframe.

Desolate best describes the scene, which would have made great setting for shooting an apocalyptic movie. Zombie. Viral Armageddon. Alien invasion. You suggest one. Where was everybody? This is summer-year-round San Diego. The cool evening—21 Celsius (71 Fahrenheit)—appealed to me. Was everyone else home streaming content and ordering GrubHub? Is that the sorry state of society?

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He Waits for What?

We end the month, and first half of the year, with a somber Featured Image captured tonight. I typically avoid taking photos of San Diego homeless, out of respect for them and their plight. With the high cost of housing, anyone could end up in their situation—particularly with the rising number of renovictions: landlord removes long-time tenants and makes upgrades to justify drastically raising rents.

According to the Regional Task Force on Homelessness, number of the city’s—what I will politely call—street dwellers is up 35 percent from 2022. Broadly, across San Diego County, people aged 55 or older make up 29 percent of the homeless population and about 46 percent are newly in this condition. That circles back to long-time tenants, sometimes for several decades, living in rentals they can manage but being evicted and unable to find affordable housing.

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Squatter Villas

The never-ending pattern of eviction, renovation, or teardown and rebuild provides temporary residences for San Diego’s homeless. I had wondered why encampments suddenly vanished along either El Cajon Blvd or Florida Street here in University Heights. The so-called unhoused moved into unoccupied flats.

What a sad, tragic state of affairs across from Kindred Hospital on Georgia Street. Around the beginning of the year, a woman living in a charming Craftsman-like house had to leave, because the property had been sold for redevelopment. I once chatted with her about renovictions and calico Rosie. Renters of the apartments next door were forced out some months later. I had photographed ginger kitty Harvey there in June 2021. Both animals appear in my “Cats of University Heights” series.

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All The Time (Zones) in the World

What do you make of this? The area along the Kindred Hospital property in San Diego village of University Heights is a bit of a homeless campsite. Makeshift tents tucked behind utility boxes or covered bodies stretched out on grass are commonly seen. Shopping carts chock full of junk—eh, personal belongings— are navigational hazards. Weave as you walk!

A lone cart containing a time-zone map of the world made an impression for seeming so out of place by any measure. Who did it belong to? Why did he or she abandon it? Was the wall hanging free for the taking? Discarded? Forgotten? You know, the shopping cart got left behind—accidentally detached from several carts strung together.

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Canyon Zooming Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

While walking along the Vermont Street Bridge, which separates San Diego neighborhoods Hillcrest and University Heights, I caught a flash of blue in the canyon below. Someone, presumably homeless, trudged through the foliage—lush and tall from heavy rains—towards a more protected space. Through the trees, I could make out red color that could be from a tent.

I whipped out Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and captured the Featured Image using the smartphone’s amazing 10X optical zoom capability. The companion pic is 3X, which I chose after seeing that 1X, which is 23mm film equivalent, would barely show the subject. Vitals: f/4.9, ISO 50, 1/120 sec, 230mm (film equivalent); 10:15 a.m. PDT, today. The other: f/2.4, ISO 50, 1/522 sec, 70mm (film equivalent); 10:15 a.m.

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Elf Tree Peace

Typically, homeless hang out on the sidewalks along the walls outside Sprouts supermarket, located at the intersection of Georgia and Howard in San Diego neighborhood University Heights. As such I wouldn’t have seen—or been able to take the Featured Image of—the tree-hanging lucky charm, whether he be leprechaun or Santa’s elf (you tell me which). But yesterday, the space was uncharacteristically unoccupied.

What a difference 24 hours makes. This afternoon, when I strolled by: One gent lay sleeping, wrapped in a brown blanket. Someone else huddled under a makeshift habitat, of which bicycle hubs were part of the structure. Another fellow crumpled cans collected from recycle bins; he worked from garbage bags carried in, and hanging from, a shopping cart. I couldn’t see the tree, or what was on it.

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Sale Sofa or a New Car?

Few San Diego neighborhoods can compete with Hillcrest for the financial gulf between those with means and others with little or none. People pay beaucoup bucks to live and party in what I unaffectionately call Hellcrest, where the homeless camp or roam rampant and the housed sidestep those who aren’t like someone might a piece of dog poop.

Sofa sale at one of the finer furniture boutiques had me laughing on Oct. 13, 2022. I can’t say which is funnier: The 50-percent discount or the original price—both of which you can see in the Featured Image, which I captured using Leica Q2 Monochrom through the display window. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/100 sec, 28mm; 10:37 a.m. PDT.