Councilmember Chris Ward leads the way on Homelessness!

Democrats for Equality,

I have talked with some of our members about this but haven’t made it a big deal about it but when I first got out of the military I was homeless. You already know that I was discharged under the discriminative “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy for being gay. I remember vividly leaving the base the last time and thinking “I’m not ready.” I remember going to the chow hall and getting extra bag chow because I wasn’t sure what would happen next. The command had forced me out so quickly (honorably, thank god) that I did not receive the full integration training (Tamps) and I was financially unprepared for the burden. As a result I ended up living out of my car, unemployed, and unable to support myself.

For months I wandered, using a gym membership to provide for basic hygiene needs and eating very lightly. It was San Diegans, and the LGBT community which led to me getting of the streets. For years I lived one paycheck or one emergency expense away from reliving that nightmare.

The struggle for economic justice, and the fight to end homelessness is very real for me and that is why I am proud of the work that our friend and council member Chris Ward is doing for our city. While our mayor plays petty politics and punishes political rivals, people are suffering through a Hepatits A outbreak among our homeless population. This is a crisis.

Councilmember Ward who is the chair of the City’s Select Committee on Homelessness has released a plan that you should all take a look at which calls for the city to:

  • Implement Safe Camping/City-Sanctioned Camp Zones at the Qualcomm/SDCCU Stadium parking lot, 20th & B Central Operations Property, and Sports Arena/Valley View Casino Center parking lot.
  • Implement Safe Parking opportunities at Qualcomm/SDCCU Stadium parking, Sports Arena/Valley View Casino, Council District 6 Properties identified by Councilmember Cate (5748 Copley Drive, Convoy Street & Copley Place, Aero Drive & I-15, 5255 Mt. Edna Drive), and at any other viable location identified.
  • Install mobile shower units and additional restrooms throughout the city, most immediately at the Old Central Library, Golden Hall, and Mission Bay parking lots and increase the current capacity and reach of existing mobile shower service providers such as Think Dignity.
  • Provide Bridge shelter beds for families, women and children in Golden Hall.
  • Expand storage opportunities at Golden Hall and other locations identified here for the provision of homeless services.
  • Increase street cleaning, handwashing stations, sanitation, and security along the San Diego River and in Balboa Park, Bankers Hill, Barrio Logan, Downtown, Hillcrest, Logan Heights, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and other communities most impacted by homelessness.

This is something we can take action towards. I am calling on all club members to do four things:

  1. Sign the change.org petition supporting Councilmember Ward’s plan HERE.
  2. Call/email Mayor Faulconer and ask them to implement Council Member Ward’s plan immediately Number: (619) 236-6330. E-mail: kevinfaulconer@sandiego.gov
  3. Call San Diego Housing Commission CEO Rick Gentry and tell him the same. Main Number: 619.231.9400
  4. Either on Facebook, Twitter, or in-person promote this call-to-action and give Councilmember Ward some love!

This is huge. You can help.

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy
President,
San Diego Democrats for Equality