Wednesday March 4th, 2010 (San Diego) -- In a previous posting on this page, I recounted that Jeeni & I had met a San Diego homeless "Street Family" with ersatz "Mom" and "Dad" , and few more. The self-assembled family group rotates between 8th and 10th, helping each other with meals, water, finding shelter, providing companionship and assistance to each other.
In a follow-up that might cheer you, a reader of this blog reached out found a way to contact the young woman on the streets who wanted to go back home to her family in Texas. The reader, a San Diegan, bought the girl a Greyhound bus ticket, and met her at the Broadway Bus Terminal to see her off with a "Bon Voyage." (young woman, benefactor are not pictured) A very kind gesture by a member of the San Diego community -- and a sign that if simply take a moment, and take an action, we can do wonderful things. Like help families who are already helping each other!
From February 10th: http://copassreport.blogspot.com/2010/02/from-city-hall-to-city-streets-amikas.html
"The "family" on the San Diego sidewalk, with gear, blankets, and puppies, proudly talked about having already helped each other stay safe, dry, clothed and fed. The family included a young ex-Marine named Matt with a leg injury, aka "Dad" and "Mom" -- a homeless woman who looks after their small cluster.
(Pictured at above, right: Jeeni Criscenzo of AMIKAS, and Street Mom & Dad)
The street family's small bivouac in the East side of Broadway area was abuzz with tales about their own organizing activity -- this impoverished group was collecting money to help a young woman, abandoned by her partner, to get Greyhound ticket back to her mom in Tyler, Texas.
A cold wet sidewalk - or a jail cell (a possible penalty for "obstructing" the sidewalk) - is hardly a place for such energetic warmth and humanity."
If only each of us could be moved to take a simple action. For those who have a home to get back to, let's offer a helping hand, extending the compassion we would hope others would extend to us or our loved ones.
For those that need a home, we can create them.
For those that need work, we can create those jobs -- trading with an updated version of a non-debt-based monetary system, like many of our grandparents did during the Great Depression.
For those that are already forming "families" -- let's create a way to keep that family structure, and build on it.
With the vision of AMIKAS, nearly 2000 human beings -- including families, kids in school, moms, dads, working people, who currently live on the streets, in shelters, or in their car, could be housed and provided with the opportunity to work towards their own betterment and that of their community.
People are ready to work, want to work, but having a job does not = housing. Fully ONE THIRD of all San Diegans who spend time living in their minivans, on the streets and in shelters have jobs, and are working people -- but they can't afford rents and mortgages in San Diego.
So, kids who need a desk to study at -- instead read in the Pollo Loco, sleep in minivans, and bathe in the sink at school. Dads sleep on the street, so that the family can stay in the shelter. Inevitably, the family unit is strained, and suffers.
The success of the AMIKAS project seeks to re-create the family structure, by providing clusters of housing for 10 people, with very modest personal space surrounding a common area. Farming, learning, teaching, work, recovery, libraries, recreation centers, sustainable currency, sustainable energy, water recycling -- its all in the AMIKAS business plan.
A compassionate San Diegan reached out and helped a young girl get home last week to her mom. But for those San Diegans who ARE the moms, the dads, they have to create a home, here. It's not sustainable to shuttle the working poor and homeless from County Services to Shelters to Streets to City Jail to Courts to County Services and back.
Let's try something new.