Monday, October 11, 2010

Homeless in San Diego

In September, a survey was taken of San Diego's homeless population. 738 individuals were surveyed. As reported in the San Diego Union Tribune (October 3, 2010), 30 percent said that they get money from recycling bottles and cans, 22 percent receive Social Security benefits, 22 percent get money from panhandling, and 18 percent receive food stamps.

A closer look at this population tells a more personal story. 80 percent have been homeless for more than a year.

Health issues are particularly vexing: 76 percent have at least one mental health issue. 55 percent have no health insurance and 37 percent have serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions. 36 percent have been violently attacked since becoming homeless and 25 percent have served our country in the military.

In our Baptismal Covenant, we promise to "seek and serve Christ in all persons loving our neighbors as ourselves."

Let me suggest that we have three things that we can do to keep this vow relative to our homeless brothers and sisters.

First, we can advocate for tax dollars to care for this population, whether temporarily homeless, homeless because of mental illness or substance abuse, or a veteran scarred by war. We need to work to change a system which discards those who are broken.

Second, we need to personally act. As a colleague of mine once said, "Always give alms." So say "hello" to the homeless you meet and if they have a cup for an offering, make an investment in human dignity.

And finally, participate in the work of our Church in collectively making a difference. You can do this by giving to Episcopal Community Services (ECS). Our Friend-to-Friend Clubhouse is a program designed to help the homeless of San Diego.

You can check out this award winning program at:

No comments:

Post a Comment