Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless
By Brian Campbell, District 2 City Council Candidate
I have strong concerns about public safety regarding children and families. Twice last year, Washington Elementary School went into lockout due to homeless men living in their cars in front of the school fighting, throwing bottles over the fence, and creating an unsafe environment on school grounds. Then several parents caught homeless men living in their cars across the street taking pictures of children playing on the soccer field. Two weeks ago at a house by the back entrance to the school, two individuals were lying in a driveway convulsing.
Neighbors have been expressing their concerns to the City for well over a year, about having these unknown people living right next to the school and La Mesa Park where children play.
After stating my concerns and possible solutions, such as not allowing people to park by schools between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. during school days or prohibiting loitering and parking within 500 feet of a school or park (like other cities do), the City said "NO."
When will the City take the lead and help the homeless get off the streets and away from our children and family neighborhoods? Over the last four decades, there have been several Homeless Committees and initiatives started by the City.
In 2002, the City began writing the county-wide Bringing Our Community Home: 10 Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. They stated permanent supportive housing for those in dire need was the way to help end homelessness. In 2011, there was C3H (Central Coast Collaborative to end Homelessness) where Mayor Murillo was the Vice-Chair of the Policy Committee. Dinah Lockhart, Deputy Director of the County’s Housing and Community Division, stated, “What works is permanent housing for higher-needs homeless neighbors.”
So why is it that in Spring 2019 a local reporter wrote that this is the first year there will be a collaborative effort to end homelessness?
The City needs to take the lead and organize all the resources and organizations, they need to quarterback the homeless effort. The City needs to create;
- Temporary shelters to get them a place to sleep that is not downtown.
- Parking lots, so they can park off the street with toilets and trash containers.
- Storage, so they can leave their belongings someplace safe while they are at a shelter.
- Central management of all resources: government and nonprofits.
- We have the technology to broadcast to their cell phones so they know what resources are available (90% of homeless people have cell phones).
- Once they're safe, they can receive regular help.
- This will reduce the supportive costs the City and nonprofits are burdened with.
The government has forgotten we are all people, and that we need to work together as a team and as a community. We are not divided; we are supposed to be united. Together we can make differences that help our City. Let’s show the state, the country, the power of working together.
Do you have an opinion on something local? Share it with us at. The views and opinions expressed in Op-Ed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of edhat.