Learning about the homeless – May 10, 2009

For people reading this blog entry that have not read my previous entries on the homeless, I encourage you to read Homeless Project Background. It will give you some background on my project. Briefly, I have made a commitment to give $20 each week to a homeless person and minimally ask their name and where they are from.

The homeless man that I had been talking with and giving an occasional twenty dollar bill stopped hanging out near the Vons parking lot. He had been telling me about his conversations with the homeless outreach of the San Diego police force. He had actually talked about a certain gentleman whose name I never really latched onto. I was also not so sure if this was just a line.

Coincidentally, I had lunch across from the Vons parking lot after about 4 days of Ron not showing up. I had lunch with Simonne Ruff who is the Director of the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) in San Diego. CSH (www.csh.org) is a great organization that helps communities create permanent housing with services to prevent and end homelessness. An organization that I happen to be Chairman of, San Diego Social Venture Partners (www.sdsvp.org), has been supporting CSH for the past few years, but I digress.

Simmone gave me the name of a San Diego police officer who works with the homeless. Out of concern for Ron, I emailed the officer. A few days later the officer call me up and told me that Ron had been taken to a facility, but I was not allowed any specific details because of confidentiality requirements. The officer said he would give Ron my cell phone number and tell Ron that I was someone who cared for him. I wonder if Ron will ever call me? I wonder if Ron will be successful in detox and afterwards? I wonder if Ron will show up back at Vons?

With Ron gone, I had to find another homeless person to bond with. I did give $20 to Mike this week, though I did not find out where Mike was from. Mike is a bit scary to talk to and I was not on my game. Normally, he seems a bit crazed and is often having a conversation with himself. I did see him quiet once this week. I walked past him as I usually do, but turned around and went back. I am glad I did.

By the way, I am way behind on my weekly goal. Every Sunday, I put a $20 in my pocket and I am supposed to give it away by the following Sunday. This is the 22nd week of the year. I still have eight $20 bills in my pocket. I need to get on the ball!

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