Invisible Neighbors…do you see them?

November 1, 2016

By Alexis Parker, Executive Director of HomeAid San Diego

The results of the 2016 Point-in-Time Count showed that there were 8,692 homeless men, women and children counted on the streets of San Diego – these are the homeless folks we can see.  What about those we cannot see or who are visible during the day on the street corners, but disappear into the night into a car, or on a friend’s couch, or under a bridge?  We call these folks our ‘Invisible Neighbors’.

Shelter is a basic human need.  Lack of shelter means lack of sleep, lack of hygiene, lack of food, and no safety.  Holding onto a routine or a level of normalcy is near impossible without a place to call home.  Luckily, most of us never have to worry about shelter – but not everyone can say the same.  Continually rising rent prices in San Diego County have put housing out of reach for thousands, leaving people deprived of a basic human need.

Did you know that 80% of the homeless on the streets are NOT there because they choose to be, but because of some unforeseen circumstance in their lives – mortgage failure, job loss, exorbitant medical bills, fleeing domestic violence, teenagers turned away from their homes, seniors with no family, physically disabled with no resources, veterans who can’t find a job after serving in the military – and the list goes on.

THEY COULD BE YOUR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR OR IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU!!

When most people encounter a homeless person on the street or standing on a corner asking for a hand out, they are in an uncomfortable situation because they don’t know what to do for these homeless individuals.  They may ignore them, they may give them some food, they may give them money, or they may even yell harsh words at them.  But these homeless folks have nowhere to go, no one to turn to, and no hope for their future.  They are simply trying to survive.

Housing the homeless is what HomeAid San Diego has worked to achieve for 15 years.  HomeAid partners with other non-profit organizations that serve the homeless or the hungry to develop and renovate housing projects throughout San Diego County. To date, HomeAid San Diego has completed 29 housing projects providing facilities that range from emergency shelters, to transitional housing, to permanent supportive housing.  These projects have successfully transformed the lives of over 33,170 homeless folks.

Join us throughout November during ‘Hunger & Homelessness Awareness” Month and support the fight to end hunger and homelessness.  Each day you will learn something new from our guest bloggers who are leaders in San Diego County addressing these critical issues.  As you do, I ask that you share with your friends, family or coworkers.

Perform an action, whether big or small, that will leave behind a lasting impact not only in your life, but in the life of one of your neighbors – a neighbor who once was invisible, but now you see.

CLICK HERE to learn how you can get involved!