Monday, September 1, 2014     Volume: 29, Issue: 5
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Panga Boat Bust 9/6

Weekly Poll
What should be done with the De Groot Home?

Leave it alone; they do good work there.
If they’re violating health laws, they should be brought into compliance.
The situation should be dealt with, but handled delicately because of how unique they are.
Would it help if I dumped some water on my head?

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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.

Isabell Hope Garcia

Isabell Hope Garcia has suffered greatly because of her condition.

“Believe me, if there was a way for me to get out of my own skin, there’s times I really would,” she said.

Garcia has type 1 bipolar disorder, a condition that has made it difficult for her to hold down a residence or a job. At a recent interview, she said she was camping for the first time in San Luis Obispo after getting kicked out of a semi-stable residence because the landowner wasn’t suited to deal with her condition.

She was born in SLO and spent a portion of her childhood in Santa Maria and other nearby cities.

And she’s had long stretches with no issues—maybe a year or so without problems.

“And then my illness will get the better of me and then I’ll have to move,” Garcia said.

A few years ago her illness flared up and she was forced out of a home where she rented a room. After that she moved to Sunny Acres outside SLO and worked for a while at a local warehouse. But Garcia was laid off and, unfortunately, stress makes her illness become more extreme, she said. She takes medication, but in those high-stress times it’s not enough to keep her “level.”

She was going for outpatient services and is trying to get back into that, she said.

For now, she said what would help is to find the resources that could help her land housing and a job she can hold down permanently. Garcia said she like doing inventory, and is very good at tracking numbers.

She said she’s also willing to do chores in exchange for bus tokens so she can meet with case workers, which is hard for her to do at the moment.

“We’re still valuable, real people that have this special disorder that we try to keep under control,” she said.

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