Downtown Homeless Street Feedings Education Campaign Launched
The San Diego Union-Tribune recently posted an op-ed regarding the negative consequences of homeless street feedings. The urge to help people struggling with homelessness is natural and good. Many groups and individuals come downtown to provide homeless people with food, blankets, and other items. However, instead of helping as intended, these groups fail to address the complications of homelessness. These efforts often hinder homeless individuals from getting off the street and into stable housing.
Street feedings can enable homeless individuals to avoid the assistance of outreach workers who are trying to end their homelessness. Street feedings also don’t provide individuals with access to washrooms for their hygiene. They are also redundant, as more than 1,250 fresh and healthy professionally prepared meals are served in downtown service providers (such as Father Joe’s Villages, Loving Spoonfuls, Rachel Women’s Center (Catholic Charities), PATH, The Salvation Army and The Alpha Project) every day.
These service organizations are best able to distribute food and donations such as clothing, blankets, and tents. Interested groups and individuals can help these organizations without the unintended consequences.
As a result, the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Clean & Safe program has created the San Diego Meal Service Program, a centralized community platform designed to connect public feeding groups with local service providers. This networking tool allows small groups and individuals to connect with local service providers who are in need of support so that the homeless community can best be served.
This project would not have been possible without the support of Deacon Jim Vargas, Pastor Miles McPherson, Elaine Therrien and Cox Communications. Thank you so much for all that you have done and continue to do to affect change on the streets of our Downtown. If you have any questions about the San Diego Meal Service Program or the street feedings education campaign, please contact Bahija Hamraz at (619) 234-8900.