Gone are the days when communities could speak from afar about homelessness and adopt an attitude of “not in my backyard.” The issue of homelessness goes beyond the streets and parks of downtown where individuals identified as chronic homeless, those with substance abuse and mental health issues, reside. It has entered the suburbs, where school districts are affected daily by children who are living in a homeless situation. With each passing day the problem of homelessness appears to worsen and become increasingly complex (“Faces of the homeless,” Forum, Feb. 9).
As a community, Sacramento has led valiant efforts to deal with homelessness. Most recently the City Council again set aside funding to work on this issue. However, when evaluated closely, those solutions merely address the surface issues of homelessness. The systemic challenges, trends and structures that make homelessness possible have not been addressed. In order to make true inroads into the issue of homelessness, community leaders must begin the difficult, messy work of long-term, systemic, sustainable change.
Here are some suggestions on how Sacramento can begin to address homelessness:
An in-depth study must be done in order to:
As the population of the homeless becomes more diverse, the need for the Sacramento region to implement lasting solutions becomes paramount.