H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Nov 6, 2012 1:37 AM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Homeless and formerly homeless share stories of living on the streets in SLO

Homelessness is an issue a lot of communities are struggling to deal with, and that includes the city of San Luis Obispo. On Monday, a couple of local organizations teamed up to put a face to poverty.

The event was a panel discussion, with three homeless or formerly homeless locals sharing their experiences of living on the street. The event was sponsored by the Social Justice Ministry at Old Mission SLO and Highlight Media. Supervisor Jim Patterson led the meeting.

The panel's goal was to explore the homeless issues and solutions. Before the panel spoke, the attendees watched a 15-minute clip from "Homeless Not Hopeless", a film showing the living conditions of some of the homeless individuals in the San Luis Obispo County. The film won best feature film in the 2012 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.

The three speakers shared with the attendees that they became homeless either because of unemployment, or domestic violence. They suggested that the city should help people before they end up on the street, and they also said resources should be more centrally located for the homeless.

Liz Clarke, with the Social Justice Ministry at Old Mission SLO said, "hearing the people speaking, put a real voice and a face to the problem, it seems it can be sort of out there, but then you hear their stories. I mean, it could happen to any of us if things just don't go right."

Many SLO City Council members were present at the forum, as well as all three of the SLO mayoral candidates that will be going head to head in Tuesday's race.

Clarke added that she knows the issue of homelessness will not be solved in one night, but she's glad so many people came out to share their opinions and get informed.

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