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By Teeamarrie Lewis

February 20, 2019 (Lakeside)-- Hello, my name is Teea and I have been homeless in Lakeside for the past three years but have lived here for 30 years. I am not here by choice, I am clean, looking for work with no success but I have seen more problems in this community than they want to let on. In my years of being a homeless citizen I have gained family, lost loved ones, and have lost almost all hope for the human race. When it comes to compassion it seems that there is more stereo types made than there is a realistic version of what is really going on. I am here to try to debunk the stereo type of the Lakeside homeless community.

I will try my hardest to explain as much as I can without boring you. When referring to the river bottom, there is a river/river trail that runs through the outside of town. There are around 25 people living in downtown Lakeside, this means near the main street and not near the borders. All these people range from the age of 23 to 60's. All but a few have lived in Lakeside for over 10 years, if not their whole life. But have no say on what goes on in the community or given a chance to express what they feel may help the community as a whole.

Everyone that I have talked to about a housing program called "bridge housing" I gave two choices, 1: live in a motel in your own room for two years paid, 2: have a piece of property that you can stay on safely with the other members of the homeless community with rules, a basic shelter, one way of power, and one or two shared bathrooms. They all chose the second option as their primary. When asked why they all replied," This is the only family I have, I don't know what I would do without them." In some way this was the answer given. The Lakeside downtown homeless community is a family, and have more love for each other than their own families have for them.

The problem we are seeing now is of course the trash problem, this was brought up in the last community meeting done almost a month ago and it seems as though I have been the only person buying and handing out trash bags and picking them up when full to be disposed of properly. The solution was fairly easy in getting the river bottom community a way to throw their trash away and when going to the help center for more clothing to please bring some in. Now the help center in town has already put their part into motion and all the homeless have agreed and started to bring in bags of cloths for new. However there has been no advance in the ways of us throwing our trash away from the river bottom legally. When you think about it, every one of these people must pick up and move every week to every other week after being served with a two/three day notice (depending on who hands them out), with no way of cleaning up or throwing away the trash. To better put it, cleaning your house weekly with no trash can, dumpster, or trash bags.

I feel that the way the Lakeside community used to be is now gone. Growing up in Lakeside I used to see everyone knowing everyone, helping everyone, and loving everyone, no matter where they were. When someone became homeless or was struggling to stay afloat their neighbors and friends and other people of the town would jump in and help get them a job. I have seen most of the homeless community my whole life growing up here and I hope that something can be done soon to help them before it's too late and the ones that need it the most leave this world before my eyes again.

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My brother still missing, homeless in the LKSD/SANTEE riverbed

If anyone out there reads this post, please reply! My brother has been missing since last year, around the holidays. He had recently (w/i the last couple months) been seen at one of the local stores in Santee. He was purchasing a little food. Unfortunately, like most who were injured physically, he went to the ER and was given help in the form of 'pain meds' due to a near fatal ATV wreck. Then he was denied the refills on his "pain meds" and turned to the streets for relief. I know he is in East County somewhere! I reside in the Southeast on the East Coast. PLEASE ANYONE WHO HAS ANY INFO PLS PLS PLS, I BEG OF YOU to please contact me or reply to this post! I prefer to not give his name. However, I will give a very detail description of him: He is approx 5 feet 10 inches tall. His first name is David (Dae is what I call him). He has very prominent scars on his hands from having multiple hand surgeries as a child (I also have these scars and can prove by these scars that we are brother and sister). His hair is brown and has a thick bushy beard like a 'MOUNTAIN MAN' (similar to a tv actor from the 1970's; "GRIZZLY ADAMS"). His eyes are brown and when he smiles his eyes will become squinty (when he smiles, his eyes smile too). He HAS TATTOOS: SPECIFICALLY, A JUKEBOX w/1966 at the top of his arm; another tattoo of the word B.E.A.T. on his arm with the 'T' drawn like 2 Drum Sticks creating the 'T' in the word BEAT; He has a tattoo on the inner wrist of both arms w/bible scripture verses from when our momma died from cancer. I NEED TO FIND HIM.... PLS!! I will pay A FINDERS FEE OF $$$100.00$$$ C.A.S.H. to anyone who can give me a SOLID LEAD TO EXACTLY WHERE HE IS and IS ABLE TO TAKE ME TO HIM! IF YOU ARE THAT PERSON WHO CAN LEAD ME TO MY BROTHER, CONTACT ME ASAP!!! I will be arriving in SD in a couple weeks and I swear on my momma's grave, I will pay the finders fee and I will give you food and clothing and blankets and toiletries and trash bags....I just need help...PLEASE! Thank you and I so much appreciate the help of anyone who will seriously assist me.

Thank you to both ECM Editor,

Thank you to both ECM Editor, Miriam Raftery, and Teeamarrie for putting a face on the issue of homelessness for us. I look forward to future articles, and hope there is some kind of effort that could keep the community/friendship bonds intact for Teeamarrie and her friends. Support and encouragement are such strong motivators. People need community as much as they need food, shelter, and clothing. Namaste.

Teeamarrie :-)

Okay, thank you. That's the impression I had. Wow! All of you obviously have very strong bonds as friends. Stay strong and hold your head high. Be proud. I pray that your path becomes less troubled. Peace.


We were all given the option of either getting motels each apart from one another or waiting to see if we can get a bridge housing done in the area where we could stay together. We all choose to wait.

Please clarify Teea...

So I can correctly understand what you wrote. You were offered a Hotel room for two years at no cost, and you turned it down so your friendships could remain intact? True, loyal friends are precious and hard to find. Hope you have a better day :-) (In my humble opinion, there needs to be a better understanding of homeless people's needs, coupled with alternative services. Not all fit the guidelines which have been established by the authorities and those willing to help)