Special Report: Portraits from the street — Changing the perspective on homelessness

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — In San Diego, there’s been lots of talk about ways to end homelessness, but sometimes, we are not looking closely at the men and women at the center of this crisis.

Steve Breen, the Pulitzer winning editorial cartoonist at the San Diego Union Tribune is sharing his portraits of those who are living on the street, with the intent of helping readers see their humanity.

Earlier this year, Breen began to sketch the some of the people he encountered near the newspaper’s offices in downtown San Diego, as he learned more about their background and why they wound up on the street.

Breen said some of the people he met had challenging physical and mental health problems. Others who were caught up in difficult and complicated circumstances were trying to find employment or a place to live.

The portraits have been published in the pages of the San Diego Union Tribune and Breen said they seem to have struck a chord.

“Even if we can just kind of touch a few readers, then I think our job is done,” Breen said.

Deacon Jim Vargas, the president and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages said the art provides a  connection to people who usually don’t command much attention or respect. He said Breen’s portraits remind us to see the potential in people.

“Sometimes, I reflect on this; these are individuals who as children, and as infants when they were born – their parents held them and had dreams for them and because of various circumstances, they are now where they are,” Vargas said.

Breen is one of three artists whose works will be displayed and discussed at a panel discussion on September 20 at the Media Arts Center in North Park.

The discussion will be moderated by Deacon Jim Vargas, followed by a showing of two films about homelessness. 

Categories: Local San Diego News