Friday, November 27, 2015     Volume: 30, Issue: 18

Weekly Poll
What would you like to see the United States do about ISIS?

Air strikes are a start, but let’s put boots on the ground.
Look for less confrontational ways to address the situation, like economic sanctions and a multilateral peacekeeping effort.
They’re a pissed off byproduct of the 2003 Iraq invasion. Maybe it’s time to stop creating more terrorists.
Let’s begin by helping the refugees that fled from their violence.

Vote! | Poll Results

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New Times / Community

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.

Richard Nunez

Richard Nunez is a smiley, affable guy who gives two-handed handshakes before he pulls you in for a hug.

If there’s one message he could get out to the world, it would be this:

“Be kind to one another and listen to one another,” he said. “Really listen.”

And if it weren’t for a history of mental illness, Nunez’s life probably would have been much different. Since 2002, he’s struggled with homelessness. More recently, he hasn’t had a place to live for about six months. Nunez is now camping behind a restaurant in Atascadero, but he hopes to get out of there.

He used to live in a motor home with his girlfriend in Morro Bay, but the two split after an on-and-off relationship of about five years. In fact, he moved to San Luis Obispo County to support a previous girlfriend, who had to come to the area to be with her ill mother.

But Nunez suffers from mental illness, and he’s had problems in the past with alcohol. However, Nunez said he’s finally committed to staying sober and off of the street.

“This time I believe will be my very last time being homeless because I’m really going to make a serious run,” he said. “And I’ve never said that before.”

He’s making serious strides toward that goal. Following his interview with New Times, Nunez said he was going to get a countywide bus pass, which might sound trivial, but it was clearly a big step for him. He was also getting help from a friend to qualify for a public-housing program.

While Nunez would say that he doesn’t need anything, with a little pressing, he’ll admit he needs help. His shoes are worn and starting to give. A pair of size 11-and-a-half sneakers would help, Nunez said, encouraging people to donate to local shelters before he’d ask for a hand out.

He’s had trouble holding down a job in the past because of his mental illness.

“I can get a job, but never hold a job,” he said.

But he used to be a barista, and loves working with coffee, if anyone’s looking.

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