HUMBOLDT COUNTY – A local agency that has been working for several years for answers to solve the homeless crisis on the North Coast has called out the City of Eureka and Humboldt County to stop a proposed day care program and seek a meaningful solution to the issue.
AHHA or Affordable Housing Homeless Alternatives says the city and county have adopted a strategy to make life in the community difficult for the homeless with hopes they’ll simply self deport themselves somewhere else. The organization admitted other communities in the country were using the same strategy but many now are moving away from it because it doesn’t work.
AHHA said that officials in our area refuse to seek assistance offered by the federal government and generally do not try to work with volunteer organizations…that they have alienated these entities so much that they have failed to comply with the federally mandated “Point in Time Count” to ascertain the true number of homeless within our boundaries. Reliable estimates are that there are presently thousands of homeless within the county.
The city has now issued a request for proposals to operate a day center for the homeless without providing anything for them at night. AHHS has tried to address the issue for the past several years and now asks that Eureka and the county withdraw their request for proposal and come forth with meaningful solutions to the problem.
As communities grapple with the issue around the country, numerous models are developing which could be adapted to our area. AHHA asks that the city and county provide resources to assist the homeless community and concerned citizens to establish refuges for residents who happen to be homeless. Initially, these refuges may begin as camps with centralized feeding, sanitary and socializing facilities. They would not need to be near residential neighborhoods but would need to provide access to social services and could start out as temporary shelters. They would be as self-governing and self-policing as possible. A safe, warm and dry strategy first could be implemented and then the program could try and develop enduring solutions like a low cost tiny house community. Ultimately the agency said it will lead to happier, more wholesome, cheaper and far more humane situations than the current strategy.
AHHA asks the county and city of Eureka to issue a new RFP calling for the creation of refuge communities in appropriate locations in the county. They stand ready to assist and offer leadership in this effort.