I appreciated your coverage of the young people who are homeless in downtown San Luis Obispo (“A stop on the squatter’s trail,” March 5). The stories some of them told about their lives to your reporter were revealing. Like all of us, we have a face to present to others, some of it true, some of it hopeful fantasy. The reality I see on a daily basis is that these kids are hungry, rootless, and have little hope for the future. It is always somewhere else, always passing through, hoping to find a place in the world. Some of them come out of foster care, some from abusive homes, some from privilege maybe, all looking for something real to hang onto. Some think they find it in drugs, a “free” lifestyle, train hopping or whatever.
It really bothers me to see our young people wasted, setting themselves up for no job, no home, a rude awakening sooner or later. Or maybe that already happened. Hopefully, there will be some job creation in the near future for people who want a job and a place to build a life. I don’t think the article does the subject justice but maybe it was tongue in cheek or intentionally lighthearted. I don’t think they are panhandling for fun or like to piss off older people by jostling them with guitars etc. I don’t think it is a game or an adventure, for most, it is just survival the best they know how.
Trying to make it look fun may cheer them up and may comfort those who don’t stop to give them their leftovers or spare change to feed their dog or them but in reality, they are looking for help. They just don’t think most people give a damn and/or they don’t want to deal with social services and all that requires and implies. I think most people could understand that.