OC homeless need solutions

Orange County’s 2017 Point-In-Time count showed 57 percent growth in the homeless population since 2013. The number of homeless, or “unsheltered” people has greatly risen in recent years, and although the problem has been obvious, there is still no long-term solution for the issue in sight.

Point-In-Time is a calculation of people who are without permanent residence on a particular night, which is usually assessed near the end of January each year.

Currently, the coastal county is fighting to remove those encamped along the Santa Ana River and find proper housing for them in cities such as Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach and Irvine.

However, after the County Board of Supervisors attempted to open temporary homeless shelters, members of these communities protested and threatened to sue if they went forward with the plan. It is clear members of these affluent communities are not interested in using their wealth to help those less fortunate.

Shelters are often overcrowded and usually only offer the bare necessities to families who need much more than just a place to sleep for a night.

Organizations like Home Aid Orange County and 211 Orange County are in place to help the growing issue, but as homelessness increases, there is less aid to give, not to mention they can only help so many at a time. The County is rapidly scrambling to find people shelter, but is lacking a major component for helping the homeless – giving them the proper tools to get back onto their feet. In order to avoid people returning to living on the streets we need to find sustainable, long term solutions.

Instead of picking up the homeless and moving them out of the affluent communities to cities like Santa Ana, we should devote resources to finding a permanent solution to this overbearing problem. All of the time and energy used to protect the face of the upscale communities should be directed to bettering the lives of thousands.

The homeless should not just be moved from place to place, avoiding the issue altogether. Every city just cares about sweeping their own streets of “unwanted people” instead of providing solution based aid like resources for jobs and school, food and a permanent home. In order to provide a better future for all of our cities, and the people who live there, this issue needs to be faced head on.

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