“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” Â – Â Martin Luther King, Jr.
When a person has no place to go to sleep without fear of assault, harassment, kidnapping, rape or random acts of hate, they are the most vulnerable people in the world. Our city’s homelessÂ women, children andÂ elderly are aÂ stinging indictmentÂ of our failure to care for one another.
There came a point where someÂ of us in San Diego said that we cannot continue to ignore the suffering of so many vulnerable people on our own city streets. While many people were talking about the growing problem of homelessness, and plenty of expensive studies proved it was a problems, and some good people were bringing food and clothes to those on the streets, people were not actually getting housed. There simply wasnât and isnât sufficient housing for people with extremely low incomes.
We formed a non-profit organization, called Amikas in 2009 andÂ began to advocate for the humane treatment of people without housing to our city leaders and the community and to identify the real problem – lack of affordable housing.
We began working with a population that wasn’t being counted and therefore wasn’t being helped – women and children.Â Soon we realized that many of the women we were serving were veterans who had served our countryÂ but were being under-served by our country.Â Today, we continue to help veteran women, but the numbersÂ of women and childrenÂ who are un-housed, un-counted and un-served is exploding! Our efforts extend to all of them.
While we continued to support efforts to alleviate the suffering on our streets and canyons, it was clearly time to stop talking about homelessness, and to start thinking of ways to create more housing. We tried group housing and shared housing as ways to make more of Â existing housing, and while we still think these options should be part of the mix of housing solutions, we are currently focusing on creating bridge communities with safe sleeping cabins that could provide the immediate safety that the most vulnerable need.