Indicative of everything is the one small problem of heat. Sure, the weather is mild in San Diego, relatively speaking. But when you warehouse 240 homeless, 1/4 mile from the ocean, in a tent with zero insulation, you will be exposing those homeless to some harsh cold conditions. There are many people now living in the tent who have colds, and are on the verge of catching the flu or pneumonia. There are some heating units in the tent but they are not properly set. AND, the admin refuses to make changes to the settings.
The heaters put out very little heat – and at the same time are expected to heat the wide expanse of the tent. So, the fans are turned up in an attempt to move the heat all around. The problem becomes this little thing called “wind chill”. When the wind is blowing strong enough, it causes the temperature to feel colder than it is actually. So because of this, the homeless are feeling colder than if there were no heaters at all. This cold air weakens people, weakens their ability to fight off colds and the flu, etc. It’s miserable enough just being homeless, and then you increase their misery by cramming them together in what amounts to a warehouse of other homeless people, and then you make it worse by not providing adequate heating. Geez, the Tent doesn’t even supply people with sheets for their plastic covered beds. Imagine having to sleep on cold plastic when it’s 55 degrees. It’s not pleasant.
All of this results in homeless people being extremely miserable, and extremely miserable people are in no state to accomplish the things necessary for ending their homelessness. Service providers need to understand that it is only by relieving the misery of the homeless that the homeless will feel better about themselves and about life, only by relieving the misery of the homeless will they inspire and motivate the homeless to try once again to overcome their homelessness. Happy people are never homeless people for long. It’s time for service providers to stop thinking that homeless people need to be punished into changing. It’s time for homeless service providers to learn and understand that care, concern, and compassion are the things that end homelessness.
But as it is right now in the homelessness industry, there is too much stupid.