The forum on homelessness sponsored by the Hillcrest Town Council (HTC) at its May 10 community meeting drew a crowd of over 100 concerned community members.
Moderated by HTC’s immediate past president Luke Terpstra, the forum panel consisted of San Diego police Officer Ricardo Pinon, Jennifer Buck of Think Dignity, Alpha Project’s Brandon Smith, Ben Nicholls of the Hillcrest Business Association, and Karina Vesco, a licensed clinical psychologist.
The panelists addressed several aspects of the homeless crisis in San Diego, from legal responses to lack of services to strategies for community education to a call for more affordable housing. A vibrant dialogue followed the panel presentations. Issues raised included aggressive behavior, the special situation of LGBT homelessness, and the role of physical and mental illness.
Prior to the panel, representatives from several community organizations and elected officials gave updates on neighborhood issues, including the University Avenue Pipeline Project and the Uptown Community Plan update. The participants also heard from Mayoral candidate Ed Harris and City Attorney candidates Bryan Pease and Gil Cabrera.