Members of the community have reached out to us with their experiences working with the homeless and Permanent Supportive Housing(PSH). They have been willing to share their stories. If you have a story you would like featured on this page, please email us at SDClairemontCares@gmail.com

 

Greetings fellow Clairemont neighbors!!!

My name is Larry and I would like to address concerns I have with the planned housing of individuals with psychiatric illness and or drug dependence that Wakeland Properties is proposing at the Mount Alifan location.  

Let me first state I am completely opposed to the current proposed format due to HEALTH and Safety concerns for the tenants, surrounding community, and businesses.  I would support a fiscally responsible, responsible, proven, and SAFE model. I would be extremely disappointed with any council member supporting this project and question their rationale.

I like most people have a great heart and willing to help anyone in need.   In fact, I help homeless and individuals with substance abuse issues and psychiatric illness as part of my career.  I have been in the medical profession for over 25 years. I am a physician assistant in a local emergency room and see a large volume of the aforementioned  individuals. That being said, I feel I have a pretty strong wealth of knowledge in regards to issues I will address.

 Image by AnonHQ

Image by AnonHQ

If I understand correctly, Wakeland Properties plans to house 50+ individuals who are regarded as the highest risk ( I would like more specifics on that criteria) who are currently homeless, have a diagnosed psychiatric illness, and substance abuse history.  In addition, criminal history does not preclude applicants. These individuals will not be supervised 24/7. They can come and go at their leisure. Current sobriety and sobriety testing will not be done. Individuals will not be monitored if they are taking their medications.   Already, this model is unacceptable and outright DANGEROUS and IRRESPONSIBLE..

From my experience the vast majority of individuals that are homeless have  drugs/alcohol and or an underlying psychiatric illness. I spend quite a bit of time discussing resources.  There are many shelters such as ones sponsored by Father Joe’s Saint Vincent de Paul, City of San Diego, and crisis houses just to name a few.  Many chronic homeless do not like them or have been evicted for not following rules. The excuses I from the chronic homeless have been, “ I don’t like being caged in”, “I was late for curfew”, “I was drunk when I showed up.”  Please note, these are programs where there is constant supervision and with available community resource information. Most of the chronic homeless chose not to utilize them. I can’t imagine a facility like the one being proposed with very little supervision.  The liability is unfathomable.

I see these individuals at their worst(that is why they are in the ER).  Violence is a common occurrence. Remember we are addressing individuals who may be paranoid, delusional, suicidal, homicidal, manic, depressed and potentially under the influence which usually exacerbates things.  I have witnessed these individuals assault nurses, assault police, destroy hospital property , spit on staff, run through public areas naked, masturbate, throw urine/feces, Hepatitis A,B,C and HIV just to name a few.  What is the usual underlying cause? Drugs/alcohol, psychiatric illness history. I am concerned with proximity to schools(drug paraphernalia, drug use/sales, loitering, assaults, rapes etc. Can we agree the danger that is possible with the proposed plan.   It isn’t that I don’t feel this unproven model should be in a highly populated residential area, next to several schools and businesses in Clairemont. I don’t feel it should be in Barrio Logan, Bay Ho, La Jolla, Mira Mesa, or anywhere. There is no proven model for this type of residential area that Wakeland has experience with.  I find it ludicrous there will be a case manager on call and security after hours. Security is not law enforcement. EMS and law enforcement will be a regular presence at a facility such as this. I find it odd that the City of San Diego is hiring armed security to guard public restrooms at the Civic Theatre. https://www.10news.com/news/city-of-san-diego-adds-more-armed-guards-to-patrol-downtown-public-restrooms.  I cannot comprehend the disparity?  Needless to say, I cared for the elderly woman that was assaulted at the Town Centre Restrooms.  She sustained facial fractures, rib fractures, was knocked unconscious, and required surgery. Why? Because she told a homeless individual he couldn’t take his cart into a restroom.  I would be willing to go out on a limb and state he had a history of substance abuse and psychiatric illness. Are the dangers with this project a little more tangible now as currently proposed?  Mark my words. If this project is allowed by the City of San Diego, it will be a failure, people will be hurt, people will lose their lives, and the liability for Wakeland Properties and the City of San Diego will be astronomical as they will have been well informed of the risks to the community with this currently proposed project.

In addition, we mustn’t forget our growing elder population, veterans, and individuals with disabilities who need housing.

Larry, Emergency Room Physicians Assistant.  

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 “PSH is considered voucher housing. Which is Housing First and they take in the at most at risk. Very few take sex offenders (mine does) but drug offenses are normal and frequent. Look at Studio 15 and Island Village. It’s not pretty and if you go to look at the neighborhood please take someone with you!! They are mostly voucher buildings with people on PSH housing. Those residents have case managers but they are off site. Which causes a whole other set of issues. (I am a PSH case manager, not for PATH). So, case managers will try to get them treatment and to the doctors etc. it’s a long process. 2/3 of my clients are SSI, 1/3 are trying to better their life and get a job or had a job etc. Half were compliant and half avoided me at all costs. Their only requirement to keep their voucher is to see me in my office 2x a month for 30 minutes. Yep that’s it. People are ranked off the SPDAT form. Which can be manipulated. There was a woman evicted from (name withheld, but in SD) due to prostitution and drugs. It is near impossible to take a voucher away like the ones this new building will have from HUD. Sharing this puts my job at jeopardy. but this is not okay.”

- Jennifer Smith*, Permanent Supportive Housing(PSH)  Case Manager(not for PATH). Her name has been changed (*)as she is still employed by the state. 

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"Prior to moving to San Diego I was in home health for 13 yrs and had the opportunity to take care of several patients living in a housing development like this. It was govt apt housing for physically disabled and/or mental health issues. These are the people would have been homeless if not for assistance received from govt housing. It was a small 3 story hospital converted into Apartments. Prior to my first visit there I was told by my director to always take another nurse or someone w me due to high crime rate at the apartments and surrounding area. This place was seriously sketchy & made me nervous every time I went. Apparently a nurse was robbed while visiting a patient. There was security guy at the front desk (sometimes) and flyers on the bulletin board downstairs offering community programs & info etc... Most apartments were unkept and barely furnished. Let’s face it, most of the people living there had a hard time taking care of themselves much less an apartment and there were always LOTS of people lingering in the hallways, parking lot and sidewalks morning,day and night because most of the tenants cannot and do not work. These apartments did not have anyone supervising the tenants except for an apt manager offering some assistance during the day, but no one making sure they were taking their meds or getting the follow up and help they need because it was ultimately their choice. These apartments were definitely not a place that would have been appropriate in ANY neighborhood, especially one that has several schools nearby. So from my own experience I just don’t see any good outcome from putting this type of housing in the middle of a neighborhood. It would be better suited in a different location. One the other hand, why can’t they make it an apartment for the physically disabled or elderly w chronic conditions like the one they developed in Talmadge? This is a perfect community for the elderly since everything is within walking distance. Another experience I have had is my nephew who has been chronically homeless since 16 (he is now 28) w bipolar disorder and schizophrenia refuses to take his meds regularly (he may go a few months taking meds regularly) or not at all because he does not like the way they make him feel, he has stolen and assaulted my own family and his grandmother numerous times, is always looking to break into homes to steal & buy drugs. He was also given free housing (travel trailer) by his family but he decided to destroy it w feces and urine instead. I’m not saying that all w mental disorders act in this way, this is just my own experience w a family member that is chronically homeless & non compliant. As much as we tried to help him (his mother was a Psych Nurse) and we spent years trying... it was not enough. He now spends his time in and out of jail, psych facilities or on the streets. This is why I feel that any type of housing that will take on 50 or more chronic homeless w mental health issues need more supervision and management around the clock and should NOT be put smack in center of any neighborhood."

Mary, former nurse who worked with residents of  a  govt apt housing for physically disabled and/or mental health issues