Thursday, July 24, 2014     Volume: 28, Issue: 52
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Panga Boat Bust 9/6

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What local issue has you the most outraged?

The lawsuits against Chipotle.
The ongoing drama over fences at Ontario Ridge.
The spread of failed attempts to ban medical marijuana mobile dispensary services.
The proposal to prohibit people from setting up seats for the Cayucos Fourth of July parade.

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The Homeless Project

At New Times, we believe that homelessness is not a problem that can be attacked with money or plans. When we think of homelessness, we don't think of statistics; we think of people. We think of people who've had problems in their lives, and they all have a story to tell. We believe that common sense is the only way we'll ever come close to ending homelessness. This is our common-sense approach, and these are their stories.

Dane Senser

At age 56, Dane Senser believed he had finally found his dream job. While working at the Manse on Marsh in San Luis Obispo, Senser was offered a six-month job at a resort on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Senser was told that he would be paid $15 dollars an hour and would be able to live at the estate he was going to be overseeing virtually rent-free.

In preparation for the trip to Hawaii, Senser sold many of his belongings and hopped on a one-way cruise ship bound for the islands. Upon arrival, Senser was greeted with devastating news.

“The guy told me that the job was no longer available,” Senser said. “He gave me $200 and said, ‘Good luck.’”

Senser was homeless for the first time in his life.

“The first two nights I slept in alleyways,” he said. “I didn’t care, I said, ‘I hope they stab me.’ That’s how depressed I was.”

A short time later, Senser discovered a rehab facility that housed people with drug or alcohol issues. Although he had never had any issues with drugs or alcohol, Senser begged to stay, and was eventually allowed to sleep at the facility. He spent time there curled up on the floor in a room with six other men.

Senser eventually made it back to San Luis Obispo, but he has remained homeless for three and a half years. His family invested everything they owned into a bed and breakfast located in Walnut Creek, only to see it fail.

“Our family put everything into it and we lost everything,” he said.

Senser was also deeply affected by the murder of his brother in a 1994 stabbing in San Diego.

“It never leaves your mind”, he said.

He also lost his mother to cancer, his emotions well up when he mentions that he was homeless in Honolulu with no way to get to her in her final days.

Although Senser has been homeless for so long he still has goals in mind.

“I’m a fighter, I fight for the homeless”, Senser said.

He wants to raise funds to help the homeless. Senser believes that because he has seen many people struggle first hand, he would be able to help those in need of assistance.

“There is a solution,” he said. “I would like to see nobody homeless.”

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