Media Moves

Why a business columnist wrote about homelessness

August 22, 2016

Posted by Chris Roush

Dan McSwain
Dan McSwain

Dan McSwain, the business columnist of the San Diego Union-Tribune, answered questions about why he decided to write about the city’s homelessness problem.

Here is an excerpt:

Q: You’re a business columnist. Why homelessness?

A: I like a good mystery. The number of people living on the street in downtown San Diego has jumped by 43 percent in a single year. Nobody knows why. That’s interesting all by itself, and it really gets compelling when you see the preventable human suffering on display, in public. Many of these people have severe problems, yet they aren’t getting effective treatment.

Q: This column is more personal than your usual work. Why did you make that writing choice?

A: This raises a second good reason for this project: I was briefly homeless in the early 1990s, the direct result of addiction to alcohol and other drugs. I felt obliged to disclose this to readers.

I eventually recovered, but only with the strenuous assistance of some truly heroic and determined people, and after several years of bouncing from jails to rehabs and group homes. The sad truth is that many street people won’t be so lucky. How society deals with failure is a question we haven’t figured out in San Diego.

Read more here.

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