Advertisement

No Room to Rest — Series Part 6: La Jolla’s unsheltered voices

Franz "Eddie" Krell is often seen in his chair around La Jolla.
(Elisabeth Frausto)
Share

This La Jolla Light series looks at local homelessness, explores the complicated factors that contribute to it and highlights the various viewpoints about potential solutions.

Though no specific numbers are available for people experiencing homelessness in La Jolla, those without shelter are visible throughout the community. Here are a few of their stories.

Eddie

Franz Edward Krell Jr., who goes by “Eddie,” is often seen in a low-slung chair listening to his radio on street corners in The Village.

Krell was born Dec. 24, 1955, in Washington, D.C., and spent much of his childhood in Bolivia and Germany and is therefore multilingual.

He arrived in La Jolla in 1975 after his father retired here from diplomatic service, he said.

“I saw the beaches and I came zooming out,” Krell said. “I’m a beach bumpkin.”

Krell attended UC San Diego and became part of the rowing team in 1976, he said. “I nearly got an anthropology degree.”

He didn’t say why he didn’t complete his degree.

Krell said he also loves Ocean Beach, but La Jolla is home.

As he was being interviewed, Krell exchanged friendly greetings by name with a few passing pedestrians and garbage collectors.

He said he is divorced and has no children. He sleeps every night outside a local bank and said the staff there allows it as long “as they don’t catch me when they open and I don’t leave cigarette butts.”

Krell said he became homeless five or six years ago after a falling out with a longtime friend. He didn’t provide more details.

He said he’s not interested in seeking a place at a shelter (“I’m having too much fun”) but added that “I do miss [having a] bathroom and privacy.”

A homeless person's belongings fill a shopping cart in La Jolla's Village.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Andrew

Andrew Mille, who lost his job as an e-bike customizer a month and a half ago and is in his second bout of homelessness, said he needs a safe place for himself and his two dogs.

“I live anywhere I can right now that’s not going to get me arrested or run off the property in the middle of the night,” he said. “I have to have a decent area where we can lay down. Instead of just me cramping into some small corner, I have … two dogs attached to me all night.”

Mille, who declined to be photographed, said he ventures into La Jolla because it’s “actually one of the safest areas for me to sleep with my dogs because we could find lots of open areas and open spaces that weren’t going to be ... patrolled by security. I wasn’t getting harassed by security or police. But at the same time, there’s no resources there.”

In spending some of his time on the streets of La Jolla, Mille said he feels “a lot of people are disgusted at the sight of homelessness.”

“It doesn’t matter what your situation is, they judge us all evenly, like we’re basically rejects of society,” he said.

Mille lived in Colorado for a time and experienced homelessness there about 10 years ago. After he moved to the San Diego area for its climate, “I wandered all over town trying to find like where is the best place that suits me and where I can get to resources and, you know, get onto a path that’s going to get me off the streets,” Mille said.

“[La Jolla is] actually one of the safest areas for me to sleep with my dogs because we could find lots of open areas and open spaces that weren’t going to be ... patrolled by security.”

— Andrew Mille

“My main goal is getting off the streets, getting back to work and being more stable,” he said.

However, with increasing costs of rent and limitations on places that allow dogs — which Mille calls “my family” — finding a place to rent is easier said than done.

“It seems simple to most people,” he said. “I have some savings for getting my own place, but I don’t have that kind of capital sitting around. It is going to take me about [$6,000] to get into a new lease [a number he reached while searching for a place to live]. There’s not a single program that’s going to fund that. So for anyone trying to get off the streets without a bankroll like that, they’re doomed. ... It seems like an impossible goal, financially at least.”

To save money, Mille visits shelters that offer free meals and uses places like Shoreline Community Services in Pacific Beach, which connects homeless people to San Diego city and county resources and provides internet access, document recovery and more.

Regional task force compares the number who became homeless with those who found housing.

Don

During a ride-along last December in La Jolla with the nonprofit People Assisting the Homeless, or PATH — which works with homeless services organization Father Joe’s Villages to provide help to people in need — the Light met Don, a homeless man who has frequented the area of what was then the Vons supermarket (now Pavilions) on Girard Avenue.

Don, who declined to give his last name, said he had been living outside in San Diego County for 12 years, seven of them in La Jolla. He said he plays flute and wants to stay in La Jolla because of the tourists who give him money when he plays music on the street.

Father Joe’s Villages outreach supervisor Miguel Figueroa and PATH outreach specialist Jayna Lee speak to a homeless man.
Father Joe’s Villages outreach supervisor Miguel Figueroa and PATH lead outreach specialist Jayna Lee speak to Don, a homeless man, in La Jolla in December 2021 to see what services they may be able to offer.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

“In the summer every day, people from around the world come here,” he said. “If you move me to La Mesa or something, I’m going to have to come back here. This is where I live. This is where I make money.”

Don said he grew up near Los Angeles and doesn’t drive a car. He did not say how he came to be homeless.

“Some people don’t want to leave the communities they know,” Brian Gruters, associate director of outreach services for PATH in the San Diego area, said at the time. “Don didn’t want to go downtown [San Diego]. … It’s not that he doesn’t want help, he just doesn’t want what’s available, which is a shelter bed downtown. ... Here, Don knows people, he has a routine and knows where things like the bathrooms are.”

The next and final installment of the series will review possible solutions to homelessness and the factors that may help or hinder their success. And how is success to be defined?