No Empathy on the Streets of San Diego

As a photojournalist living in San Diego in the 90's I was mystified by the number of homeless people living on downtown street corners, in alleys, in parks and any place where shelter from the elements could be found. I tried to get answers from the outside looking in. That approach failed. So I kept my day job, left my apartment and lived on the streets for six months. I was using black and white film to do the documentary.

Sometimes I camped out in Balboa Park at night. or I would drive to Mission Bay Park and sleep in my car. When it got cold I stayed in a shelter the city set up in the Balboa Park gym. I had befriended Cricket and others. Ultimately we set up camp in Balboa Park at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater which was closed and under construction.

I was able to better understand why people were homeless. However, I was frustrated over the lack of solutions and the city officials negligence toward the homeless. I moved back indoors and became an activist for the homeless. Ultimately I walked away from the movement. It hurt to much to continue in an environment that was not going to change.

Ultimately I relocated to Tucson. In 2015 a Iraq war veteran challenged the status quo and I became interested again in homelessness. I spoke with the veteran and realized he had solutions in mind.

He had a dream and dedicated his life to realizing the solutions. And so once again I hit the streets but with a better understanding and a video camera. I am so pleased to see a solution in place and that the national model for homelessness has changed for the better.

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