Letters: New city ordinance doesn't address homeless problem

July 09, 2007 11:00 pm

Instead of attempting to solve the local homeless problem, the Crescent City Council has passed an ordinance that will fine or jail the helpless and broke as of Aug. 1, if there is a complaint ("Council memo aims to explain benefits," July 3). It doesn't take much to get a complaint.

What will this cost the taxpayers in court and jail time? Wouldn't these funds be better used to provide a service such as additional public toilets?

One wonders if it is even constitutional to target a particular group of citizens in lieu of not providing the services they need to avoid breaking the law.

The city and county have not promoted a shelter, rooming houses, a campground, more group homes for the mentally ill nor a storage room run by volunteers so the homeless don't have to carry everything they own and ruin their backs or leave it in their camp. Anyone of these efforts would take the majority off the streets and provide a place for counseling.

Many homeless have SSI and cannot find affordable housing. The local majority are disabled without family. They are waiting for SSI, HUD, or are on long waiting lists for subsidized housing. Where would you have them go to wait if our "leaders" don't support a legitimate place?

Increasing homelessness is a national problem as start over jobs decrease and housing costs increase. The fallacious attitude locally is that if services were available more homeless would come here. There are more services available now inmany other towns in California. Most of our homeless are local. Their roots are here and they aren't leaving. Let's distinguish between the summer travelers passing through and our own.

No one wants to see a messy camp, littering or people trespassing. We already have laws on the books for these infringements. But remember, wherever a homeless person needs to rest for the night they will be trespassing. They should have other choices. Tell your elected City Council to do something constructive.

Carolynn Starr


Homeless Help Committee

Crescent City