Homelessness is a problem in every state in our country.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, this map shows the homeless count in the U.S. as of January 2020, “just a few weeks before COVID-19 was declared a national emergency. Thus, the data does not reflect any of the changes brought about by the crisis”:
Because I live in California, I looked at our numbers:
And because I live in San Diego County, I’m more aware of local stories.
Like this recent story:
The homeless situation in the City and County of San Diego is dire, and getting worse.
And I will leave it to wiser heads than mine to offer and implement solutions.
Instead, what I’m thinking about is a juxtaposition that struck me as strange, here in this area of so many homeless people.
The estimate for San Diego County homeless humans run as high as 8,000, while also in San Diego…
Apparently $2.8 million is being spent at Birch Aquarium…
These Little Blue penguins:
And it sounds like they’re going to have quite a nice place to live. According to the Birch Aquarium website,
“This 2,900-square-foot exhibit will include rocky and sandy shore habitat and an 18,000-gallon pool where guests will observe the penguins socializing, interacting, and nest building. The exhibit also includes a small amphitheater for guests to observe birds swimming, and a discovery cave to closely observe Little Blue Penguins on land and inside a nesting box!”
Here are some artist renderings:
Now, I’m not suggesting that we taxpayers are funding this. On the contrary, money is being raised to build the penguins’ new home.
For example, the habitat’s name is Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins in honor of a $1 million gift from the Beyster Family. Other “generous gifts” are also mentioned on the aquarium website.
Another source of funds is naming rights for 10 of the penguins:
And a Birch Aquarium news release said, “There are still many opportunities for the community to support the Little Blue Penguins habitat.”
I wish the aquarium good luck with their fundraising, and I wish the penguins a lovely time in their new home.
It’s just that…
The juxtaposition of 8,000 homeless humans…
…and a $2 million+ home for 10 penguins…
Well, I think Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind said it better than I could:
That morning Will had taken the horse to Jonesboro to get him shod. Scarlett thought grimly that things were indeed at a pretty pass when horses had shoes and people’s feet were as bare as yard dogs.