United Way of San Diego County Commemorates 90th Anniversary
With Photo Installation at NBC Plaza Downtown from February 10 to 28
SAN DIEGO (February 4, 2011) – What does “home” mean to you? To San Diego County’s chronically homeless* men and women it means a stable place to live, where they can receive medical care, overcome mental illness or addiction, prepare for a job and gain financial skills. San Diego’s chronically homeless, who are military veterans, single moms, seniors, young adults and the disabled, are now able to come “Home Again” through the efforts of United Way of San Diego County.
As part of United Way of San Diego County’s 90th anniversary, the Home Again photo exhibit, from February 10 to 28, 2011, showcases the images and stories of San Diegans who have successfully exited the cycle of homelessness and are now living in permanent homes and receiving supportive services. The exhibit will be on display outside at NBC Plaza (225 Broadway in Downtown San Diego, across from Horton Plaza), 24 hours a day, free and open to the public.
“The Home Again campaign’s goal is to encourage San Diegans to ‘Learn more. Spread the word. Open a door,’ which is exactly what this exhibit helps accomplish,” said Doug Sawyer, UWSD president and CEO. “We are sharing the real faces, lives and stories of those that have been aided by United Way-funded programming, demonstrating that there is a solution to chronic homelessness – and it works.”
During its year-long 90th anniversary celebration, the United Way’s three photography exhibits showcase the impact the organization has made in the community in the areas of Education, Income and Health. This is the second exhibit of the series and is focused on the “Health” of the county’s 1,400 chronically homeless. Home Again is United Way’s public engagement campaign to involve the broader community in ending chronic homelessness in San Diego County.
The exhibit features photos of formerly homeless individuals framed in doorways, representing their new homes and lives. Each doorway features the person’s story and additional facts about San Diego’s homeless population, such as that 23 percent of the city’s homeless are military veterans. The eight doorways are part of an artistic interpretation of a neighborhood, with statistics that tell the story of the chronically homeless superimposed on the ground. For example, over 400 chronically homeless people will be supported by United Way-funded programming this year, and 2,800 have received homeless prevention services since June 2009.
The formerly homeless San Diegans featured were photographed by Gary Payne and include:
“This exhibit is a way of showing what home means to the hundreds of members of our community who don’t have one of their own,” said Commissioner Brian Maienschein. “We hope that San Diegans will come see the exhibit and learn firsthand about how they can help their neighbors in need.”
For more information about United Way of San Diego County and its 90th anniversary events, visit http://www.uwsd.org and “like” on Facebook.
*The chronically homeless are defined as people who are continuously homeless for one year or without shelter four or more times in the past three years. They often have some sort of disability.
“Home Again” is United Way’s public engagement campaign to involve the broader community in ending chronic homelessness in San Diego County. It educates San Diegans about the proven “Housing First” model, which advocates for affordable housing first while simultaneously integrating supportive services. The campaign encourages the general public to “Learn more. Spread the word. Open a door.”
The chronically homeless are defined as people who are continuously homeless for one year or without shelter four or more times in the past three years. They often have some sort of disability. Although the chronically homeless are a minority of the overall homeless population, they drain significant resources – including legal, medical and emergency services – at a high cost to our community.
The funding United Way is raising will be spent on additional permanent supportive housing and services for the chronically homeless throughout San Diego County. For more information, visit http://www.homeagainsd.org, “like” on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter.
Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, United Way of San Diego County (UWSD) is a nonprofit organization that improves lives and creates long-lasting change. The United Way movement addresses the underlying causes of problems and mobilizes the community to solve education, income and health issues. LIVE UNITED is a call to action for everyone to become part of the change. UWSD’s 90th anniversary celebration will include a variety of events to celebrate the spirit of Living United and advancing the common good in San Diego. To learn more or to donate, visit http://www.uwsd.org.
Editor’s Note: Sample photos and interviews available with Sawyer, Maienschein and Payne, as well as individuals photographed in the exhibit.