If there is an “emergency” in the US it’s on the streets.  There are very few communities which are not impacted by people in too much poverty, for whatever reason, to have continuous shelter.  Humboldt County has recorded about 1500 homeless in the most recent counting, twice that of 2017 – although I wonder if they aren’t just getting better at counting them.  And I wonder if this includes people living in their cars.  I’ve seen more than a few of them over the years, parked at the O Street trail head at Sequoia Park – that is until a log was placed to block the parking space.  Do most of those people finding housing before they lose and abandon their cars?

Anyway, it is a problem across the country and various communities are addressing it with various degrees of success (possibly the most successful being the Salt Lake City model – apparently providing housing is the most effective way to combat homelessness).  But it’s huge.  No single community can solve the problem.  A thousand points of light can’t solve it.  We need comprehensive national and regional policies.  We need a federal government commission tracking the data and the efforts, and hopefully coordinating.  We need Congressional hearings.

No other country has our problem.  And yes, then Governor Ronald Reagan opened it up by emptying the mental health care system.  But the next Governor, Pat Brown, Sr. continued the policy.  And we’ve had a slew of Democratic governors since who could have reversed the policy.

It’s bigger than Humboldt County.  It’s bigger than California.  And no Presidential candidate has addressed it as a national concern, not even Bernie – not really.

This is the time to demand attention from national political figures.  The Democrats have the House.  There are a million Presidential candidates.  It’s time to demand some national attention.  And we don’t need another “war on poverty.”  We need a comprehensive national policy.

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