June 17 2008 07:55 PM

Our weekly series putting faces on San Diego's homeless

Living on the streets ain't all that bad, says Keith, stationed at his usual corner in Ocean Beach hawking his handmade bracelets, anklets and necklaces, but he says it ain't all that good, either.

"Let's just say it's tolerable," he says. "I haven't been able to make a penny yet today, and I'm getting hungrier by the minute."

Aside from not knowing where his next meal is coming from, Keith says the worst part about being homeless is not being able to sleep on the beach. He took a bus to San Diego from Maryland a few months ago to meet up with his ex and his kids, but things didn't work out, so he headed for the beach, where he thought he could chill out while he got things together. It didn't take but a night for him to realize that San Diego's beach communities don't take too kindly to people wanting to camp out in the sand.

"You can't sleep anywhere 'round here," he says. "Most of the time, I end up sleeping sitting up."

Keith says he doesn't do drugs and he doesn't have a hint of mental illness. The way he explains it, he's temporarily homeless because of unexpected circumstance. This isn't the first time he's been on the streets, so he doesn't want to check himself into a shelter-he knows eventually he'll find a job and get his life together.

"I'll do anything," he says. "I'll sweep your floors.

"But," he says, reaching into his gray hoodie to pull out thick dreads that hang down to his waist, "look at me. It's tough to get a job. When you don't be what people want you to be, and when you don't look how people want you to look, let's just say it makes things harder."


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