Showing posts with label downtown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label downtown. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - SRO

SRO stands for "Single Room Occupancy", sometimes called, "Single Resident Occupancy".  I have always used Single Resident Occupancy, as it made more sense as concerning homelessness and Housing First.  But it wasn't until I returned to San Diego and saw a true SRO, that I learned what an SRO truly is.

The concept for Single Room living spaces came about long ago (the 1800s) when Capitalists were exploiting the lack of housing codes.  (Read about Alonso Horton for more detail.)  Some of the oldest hotels in San Diego were built explicitly for construction workers who were hired to build the more palatial hotels and supply the building boon with cheap labor.  These hotels, built for construction workers, crammed as many people together as possible.  The single rooms were smaller than 10x10 feet square.  Toilets and showers were shared, one per floor.  Downtown San Diego saw many building boons and busts over the years, but there was plenty of room for expansion and so many RSO's were built - a couple dozen or more of these SRO hotels/boarding houses still exist, and charge relatively cheap rent (although the application process and standards are very strict, and residents are paying 60 to 75% of their income for rent).

Because SROs usually offer the least expensive rent, they are the first places that case managers contact when trying to place their clients.   In recent years, most of the SRO building has been contacting with HUD and other government agencies for subsidies in exchange for renting cheaply and for working with Section 8.

It should be noted that these SRO hotels and similar resident buildings were, and in some instances still are, the domain of slum lords.  But these slum lords are finding it more lucrative to partner with government organizations such as HUD, and HUD  requires their properties to meet strict housing codes, which is leading to improvements in these buildings.

Back to Homeless Terms To Know

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Long And Winding Road

No one becomes homeless overnight, and so it should be understood that leaving homelessness doesn't happen overnight either.

It is a long and painful journey that leads to homelessness, whereby a person loses all their resources, and all their associations with others whom might help them stay out of homelessness. Generally, homelessness is the result of a great amount of personal loss. So, many homeless people end up on the streets after a divorce, or after the death of a loved one, especially a child of their's has died. For many others, their mental illness is not recognized as such by friends and family, and they assume the actions of the mentally ill person to be a personal affront. And, instead of feeling compassion towards this person, and seeking help for him or her, they disassociate themselves from this person.

My own personal mental illnesses led me to do things that my parents and other family members took as personal offenses. They believed I was doing these things purposely and with malice towards them, which was not the case at all, buy yet they were quick to rid themselves of me, instead of seeking help for me. And this more than anything else, opened the door to my first homeless experience.

Its seems odd to me, but when I did something like attempt suicide, my parents somehow twisted it into something that I was doing to them. They didn't consider the anguish I must have been going through to want to kill myself. Instead, they only concerned themselves with how this action affected them.

And so it strikes me funny, how there is all this misery on the streets, all these homeless people suffering from the worst conditions, and we have all these wealthy and relatively healthy people living in luxury condos in downtown, and all they ever talk about is how homelessness is a detriment to them - how having homeless people near their homes negatively affects their own downtown living experience.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It Never Ends

So, I was walking down 5th ave towards Panera Bread, where I am now using the wifi, and I passed a group of cops and a homeless man. Some of the cop cars lights were still flashing. The homeless guy sat upon a short wall. I had no idea why they stopped the guy, might have been for panhandling, might have been for something else. Also, to look at the homeless guy, you wouldn't know him to be homeless. I only know him as homeless cause I've seen him around the haunts.

Anyway, all seemed rather calm and casual about the pull over, as I walked passed. Then a half a block later, a group of three people pass me up going in the opposite direction, towards the cops and the homeless guy. And I overheard one of the three tell the others, "yeah, most of these panhandlers have homes. Panhandling is just what they do for a job." I was tempted to say something to them, but I didn't. I just became a little more discouraged.

There are groups actively going to downtown businesses and residents, posing as experts on homelessness, and telling the most egregious lies about homeless people and the lives they lead. These groups are actually doing the bidding of developers selling downtown property. The developers fear the presence of homeless people scares of potential buyers. Of course that actually isn't a proven fact. And there's plenty of evidence that nobody really cares that there are homeless people in downtown. The rescue mission moved to a new part of downtown back in 2000, and though some complained of the mission being in their back yard, that area of downtown has actually experienced a lot of growth - new businesses are moving near the mission all the time. And no one has had to move away.

Still, the spread of ignorance continues, and the homeless suffer the consequences.