Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 3, 2019

No one deserves to disappear

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

While a portion of Alameda attempts to fight — what should be — something that everyone could be able to support: permanent supportive housing for homeless seniors and a respite center for homeless people to recuperate post-hospital discharge there are other communities in California actually doing their part to help their homeless neighbors.

But everywhere there’s pushback and at some point we all need to realize that we can’t keep pushing away homeless people into other jurisdictions as thought that will solve the problem.

From Capital Public Radio:

Though one in eight Americans is a Californian, one in four homeless Americans live in the Golden State. It’s not because of an inviting climate or easy access to public aid.

Stagnant wages and escalating housing costs force people to the street. California ranks 49th in the nation in housing units per capita, and about 30 percent of the state’s renters spend more than half their income on housing, according to researchers at Harvard University.

For these residents, the California Dream of an affordable middle-class paradise has dissolved. Hundreds of thousands flee for lower cost states. Those who can’t afford to move become homeless, driving their neighbors to action.

Consider the SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition in Los Angeles. What started as a band of neighbors who wanted to get to know their homeless neighbors on a first name basis has grown into one of the strongest advocates for the homeless in its corner of the city, between downtown L.A., Hollywood.

In the neighborhoods SELAH serves, there is nowhere for homeless people to go if they want to access public services. If a homeless person calls and asks where to go, they’re typically referred to access points that take more than two hours to walk to.

Opening, or at least helping to open, a service center somewhere in the area nearby is one of SELAH’s primary goals.

The problem is so big and what the Wellness Center is proposing is so small in the grand scheme of the problem that — the reality is — that just the number of people cycling through the Wellness Center will probably represent the number of people from Alameda who have become homeless over the years.  But we haven’t ever had the ability to care for everyone so we have done what other cities are doing: send the homeless somewhere else to get services and abdicate our responsibility for our own neighbors.


“The money’s there, but we need the hard infrastructure,” said Mel Tillekeratne, who operates a nonprofit, The Shower of Hope. His organization contracts with local governments to provide public showers in about a dozen locations around Los Angeles County. Besides operating as pop-up access points for homeless services, street-oriented services like public showers provide basic sanitary services that are otherwise unavailable to people on the street.

“We need to roll out bridge housing, we need more mobile showers, we need more safe parking sites,” he said. “It’s disappointing that in such a progressive city there’s this mentality that we can send people away to somewhere else without recognizing that these are Angelenos who were priced out of their own homes and are now on the street. We need to address homelessness in a way that meets people’s needs without thinking they’re going to disappear.”

Vote Yes on A, no on B.



1 Comment »

  1. And obviously more elderly widows are being allowed to become unhoused.

    Comment by Juelle Ann Boyer — April 3, 2019 @ 1:35 pm

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