San Diegans pass by homeless individuals in their neighborhoods and communities daily. More than 9,000 people in San Diego are without permanent shelter, according to the 2011 count by San Diego’s Regional Task Force on the Homeless.
The University of San Diego invites the community to come together on Feb. 23 for a forum, “Solutions to Homelessness in San Diego” where the public will be able to ask questions and offer their suggestions to a panel of community leaders.
“While many of us see the homeless every day, it’s easy to become distracted and apathetic to their plight,” said Carlton Floyd, associate provost and director of USD’s Center for Inclusion and Diversity. “We forget to connect to those who in these difficult economic times could very well be us, following a job loss, serious injury or other misfortune. We hope this forum will educate us about homelessness, strengthen our relationships with organizations working to help those who are homeless, and find practical ways we can assist in these efforts.”
The panel of community leaders will be moderated by J.J. Schlichtman, assistant professor of Sociology. For several years, Schlichtman, a board member of the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless, has taught seminar courses where students spend time in the field working to address issues of homelessness. Panelists includes Rebecca Benner, project specialist, Foster Youth and Homeless Education Services of the San Diego County Office of Education; Rick Gentry, president and CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission; Pamela Hosmer, foster and homeless liaison, Office of Children and Youth, San Diego Unified School District; Phil Landis, president and CEO, Veterans Village of San Diego; Patricia Leslie, facilitator of the Regional Continuum of Care Council, associate professor Sociology and Social Work, Point Loma Nazarene University; Jennifer Litwak, manager of projects and development, San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless; Brian Maienschein, commissioner of the Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, United Way of San Diego; Simonne Ruff, San Diego director of the Corporation for Supportive Housing and Teresa Smith, director and co-founder, Dreams for Change.
The forum takes place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in USD’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre.
Those wishing to attend the free event should RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any questions or suggestions attendees might wish to ask panelists must be submitted via e-mail prior to the event. Those who cannot attend the event are also welcome to submit questions and suggestions. Attendees are also asked to bring a canned good or non-perishable food item to support the homeless.
In conjunction with the forum, USD is hosting talented photographer Bear Guerra’s the “(In)Visible Project,” (see photo above) a multimedia installation using creative visual and audio components to paint an intimate and dignified human portrait of San Diego’s homeless population. The free exhibit runs continuously on the Plaza Menor in front of USD’s Student Life Pavilion, Feb. 13-25.
USD’s University Ministry, Shelter San Diego and Student Homeless Alliance are co-sponsors of the event.
For more information, go to www.sandiego.edu/inclusion or call (619) 260-7455.
– Liz Harman
Photo courtesy of the (In)Visible Project.