To the Editor;
Many in our world (were) burned out of house and home in the Camp Fire, so have followed news there for weeks now, even as we finally have air to breathe and there is work being done to move things forward.
One thing that has struck me are the ongoing discussions and difficulties dealing with their existing homeless and transient population, now that thousands of previously homed citizens are now living in tent cities and shelters. Further, one of the reasons their (Butte County’s) sheriff is saying the total number of dead may never be known are the homeless who were living rough and probably had no knowledge of the unfolding disaster or means to escape.
In my travels around Contra Costa County in the last year or so, our semi-hidden and fairly stable population of homeless seems to have exploded, and I am seeing a lot of little settlements here and there, including in the creekbed and banks of the various waterways through Pleasant Hill and Concord, which could lead to disaster in a sudden heavy rainstorm. It is well past time for City and County elected officials and paid staff to get people into tiny house villages, Tuff-Shed shelters, out of tents.
I fear it will take more than the type of Hepatitis outbreaks seen in San Diego and other places, firestorms in Butte County, or something like an outbreak of cholera to get some people’s attention, but we have to try. Even if a few hundred of us make a few phone calls, it might be enough noise to get some small progress made on behalf of our fellow humans, without judgement about the past or current choices they may or may not have made.
I agree that it’s well past time to get people off the streets, having volunteered helping people in need (including the homeless) since I was a teenager – quite some time ago, but a lot of them don’t want help. I’ve seen churches get people off the streets into homes (at the courtesy of the church) and they return to the streets because they “miss their friends.”
You can’t force an adult to live a lifestyle (normalcy) if they don’t want to. One homeless gentleman said it best. “I preferred Gilligan’s Island to The Beverly Hillbillies.”
Chronic homelessness is a sub-culture. I’ve had it explained to me that it’s not any different than hippies in the 60s, bikers, or Goth. It’s a life-style of choice for a lot of them, and they don’t care what the rest of us think.
I will always have compassion for the homeless, and will never give up trying to help those who want help. For those who don’t – all I can do is pray.
I understand your point and agree with most of what you say but I can’t believe we can’t do more to shelter people sleeping on the street.
Lots of Chico and Paradise residents down here now, many sheltering with friends. I talked with two who have lost everything they have.
Definitely getting worse. And people on both sides of the issue appear to be losing patience. At this rate we should be beyond California’s ability to fix the problem in another couple of years. A little bit longer nation wide. I really don’t see any real effort to address the issue.