Credit: Matt Bowler / KPBS
Michael Bloom, the man involved in a lawsuit against the city of San Diego for unfair treatment of disabled homeless people living in motorhomes has died. He was 72 years old.
“He was still in pain – there was never a time when he was not in pain,” Michael’s brother Bill Bloom said at a memorial service at South Shores Park in Mission Bay on Thursday.
Bloom was a native of San Diegan who had lived in an old motorhome for over a decade. His brother said he was found dead in early June. It is not known how he died, but he had recently suffered a heart attack which hospitalized him.
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KPBS first spoke to Michael Bloom in 2017, he said paying fines of $ 100 made it almost impossible to live on his little disability checks.
“Not being able to eat or buy gasoline, they don’t realize how important it is to anything you want to do,” Bloom said in 2017.
Bloom often had to make a difficult decision between buying drugs, paying for tickets, or obtaining essential supplies.
“Disposable income is just a big joke when you’re homeless,” he said.
Michael’s brother said that even though he was disabled and in pain, Michael still managed to have a smile on his face.
“I promised mom that I would always take care of Mike and do my best and kept that promise,” said Bill Bloom. “I gave him water, food and anyway I could help him, but he was very proud – he didn’t want to accept help for some reason – he wanted to live his life for them. conditions, he didn’t think much about money. “
Michael Bloom said he was constantly afraid of being fined, so much so that it was difficult for him to sleep at night. When he spoke to KPBS in 2019, community organizer Martha Sullivan gave him a place to park his motorhome, which helped him avoid fines.
“As long as things are working the way they are, I’m happy,” he said standing in front of his dilapidated campervan parked on private land. “I like being able to be where I want to be.”
Sullivan then bought Michael a more functional motorhome and said they had become friends through willingness to change parking and housing laws.
“He was a huge teacher of understanding because despite all the adversity he faced and all the harm done to him, he was a very compassionate and kind person who wanted it for everyone,” a- she said after the memorial service ended Thursday.
California disability rights lawyer Ann Menasche said there was a slight hiatus in ticketing during the peak of the pandemic, but that is now over and the fines and impoundments reproduce. She said Bloom’s name would survive through the lawsuit.
“It’s incredibly sad – it’s really, really tragic and it shows that people in this situation who are treated like this have made their lives shorter,” she said.
Menasche said with the ticketing still ongoing, they plan to take the case to court.
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