Monday, June 24, 2013

Homeless numbers way up in Pacifica

June 24, 2013, 05:00 AM By Brendan Bartholomew Daily Journal

Pacifica’s homeless count has increased by a staggering 900 percent. According to a new report from the Pacifica Resource Center, the number of homeless people counted in Pacifica has risen from just seven individuals in 2007, to 150 in 2013. However, the report’s authors have not dropped this bombshell without offering solutions.

The report was co-written by Anita Rees, Pacifica Resource Center executive director, and Sheila Katz, Sonoma State University sociology professor. They believe it’s possible to find housing for all 150 homeless individuals over the next few years. In the short term, they advocate the creation of rotating “warming centers” which would be hosted by local churches to keep homeless people warm and dry this winter. They’re also calling for the creation of the Pacifica Homeless Response Team, a task force of citizens and public servants, which would work to find new solutions to the problem.

The most common myth about homeless Pacificans is that there aren’t any, Rees said, because the town’s hidden homeless work hard to stay hidden.

“In general, folks who are homeless try to stay under the radar as much as possible,” she said.

Pacifica’s most visible homeless person is a man named Danny, who declined to give his last name. He’s a fixture next to the Quik Stop on Crespi Drive, where passing motorists are accustomed to seeing him every day. When asked how he wound up on the streets, he said, “I just started walking.”

“When people think of the homeless in town, they think of Danny,” said Rees, “They say, ‘Oh yeah, we have two homeless people in Pacifica.’ They’re thinking of Danny and another gentleman who stays in the back of the valley.”

Danny is atypical, Rees said. Many homeless are the working poor, who use a variety of strategies to keep up appearances, she said, adding that some maintain local gym memberships to use the showers.

Another myth about Pacifica’s homeless is that they’re just passing through. Most homeless Pacificans actually have deep ties to the community, she said.

In that respect, Danny is not atypical. He graduated from Terra Nova High School in 1970 and played in a local rock band. Those who remember him from the old days describe him as a brilliant guitarist. He disagrees, however, and said he’s “just a regular one.”


Submitted by Brendan Bartholomew

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen Mr. 40's aka the guy in back of the valley for awhile. I have seen his friend or g/f walking around Park Mall now and then.

I know the cops and public works went behind the dirt lot were the kids ride the BMX bikes and kicked out a homeless camp and took one guy away a while ago.