Salinas Housing/Homelessness Q3
What is missing in a lot of the public conversation regarding homelessness is an accurate perception about who these people are and many of the root causes of homelessness. The most visible faces of homelessness tend to be those suffering from mental health problems and substance abuse, which negatively taints the way in which the general public feels we should be approaching the problem. There is also the persistent myth that the majority of those on the streets are from elsewhere and choose to be homeless in Los Angeles because of the temperate weather, or are shipped here from other states. While some are from our neighboring Southern California municipalities, a lot of these folks are simply our neighbors who have fallen into rough times.
Through the passage of measures that have dedicated funds to address the crisis, we have moved over 20,000 people into interim housing and approved thousands of additional supportive housing units. Without these resources, our homeless count for the County would’ve been closer to a 28 percent increase, in line with our neighboring counties. The solutions are working, just not fast enough or to scale enough. The government should stay the course on these proven approaches, while working in partnership with the private and non-profit sectors on housing growth across the board and economic opportunities to stem the tide of the newly homeless.