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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Daughter of San Francisco Homeless Man Is Looking for Dad on City Streets

Posted By on Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 3:38 PM

click to enlarge Have you seen this man?
  • Have you seen this man?

For years, Kelli Christensen knew very little about her father, Marty, only that he had a drinking problem and he had been estranged from the family.

She and her family -- who live in Kingsburg, near Fresno -- had heard he was homeless in San Francisco. Christensen traveled to the city to look for him, but never found her father.

Another family member tried to arrange for Marty to meet Kelli in Kingsburg on her 21st birthday, but he never showed up.  

Recently, Christensen's mother tried again to find Marty. She googled "Marty Christensen," as she does from time to time, and saw SF Weekly's September 2010 cover story, "Terminal People." The story detailed the city's attempt to help relocate chronically homeless people who had been living in the Transbay Terminal. The city was preparing to demolish the building that had been a fixture for San Francisco's homeless community. 

"My heart stopped!!" Christensen wrote SF Weekly in an e-mail.

The father she hasn't seen in 20 years was the main character in our story, photos and all.

Two  weeks ago, Christensen decided to come to San Francisco -- again -- and find her father.

Christensen printed out photos from the article and traversed the streets of San Francisco, stopping at all the

hangouts the article had mentioned. She waited for two hours for a sleeping

homeless man to wake up. He was on a bench near the bow and arrow statue on the Embarcadero -- which Marty had referred to as "my office" in the SF Weekly article. 

It wasn't Marty.

Christensen then checked the Dorel Hotel in Nob Hill where homeless outreach workers had placed Marty until his room's roof collapsed, forcing him to leave.

click to enlarge Marty's daughter is looking for him.
  • Marty's daughter is looking for him.
Christensen talked to about 40 people, including homeless people who were outside the Main Library at Civic Center. Many claimed to have seen him around, and another person said he had left 10 minutes earlier.

Christensen jotted down her phone number and gave it to a few people, even a police officer who recognized his picture, with a short message: Call her back.

"It was just a big race around San Francisco," Christensen says. "Some people said I look just like him."

Christensen wrote us an e-mail this week about her quest, hoping for some leads. Unfortunately, we lost contact with Marty after he left his room on Nob Hill. We had left a

message with his caseworker, but he never returned the


Christensen is hoping someone who sees him will help her connect with her dad.

"I just want to see him while he is alive," she wrote

us. "I want nothing from him except to meet him again and give him a

hug ... tell him his pumpkin still remembers him playing with her."


if you see Marty around Justin Hermann Plaza, the Embarcadero, or near the bow and arrow statue, tell him his daughter wants to see him.

Marty is about 6 feet tall, with white hair, and a beard. He usually wears the same jacket from the photo pictured above. Have Marty

call Kelli at (559) 312-7264.

We're hoping this tale might have a happy ending yet.

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly

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Lauren Smiley


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