Whose idea was it to solve the homeless problem by bussing the homeless to the bus depot every day and pick them up before dinner time to take them to the shelter?
After interviewing a dozen homeless people, it seems to me that their expectation is that all who show up get to shower and eat a good meal. Sleeping arrangements are limited based on the available space (mostly on a lottery basis). Those who are not chosen to sleep inside the shelter sleep in cars or in open space. Everyone must leave in the morning.
Helping the homeless solve the reason they are homeless is at the core of our problems. The police spend time to break up a fight and sometimes arrest a person who violates the law, but they do not have time to be proactive in solving some of the problems.
It was reported by Voice of OC that with the urging of a U.S. District Judge, several new permanent/temporary homeless shelters will come available in Santa Ana. Correctional facilities should not be located at the heart of populated areas like Laguna or Santa Ana. There are spaces away from the heart of cities where other correctional facilities are located. Similar spaces away from populated areas could be less expensive options for building shelters, agricultural farms, and other skill-building centers for the homeless. These centers do not need to be closed during the day.
Forcing the homeless to leave the Laguna shelter during day time hours should not be acceptable for a city as rich as Laguna. Many homeless end up sleeping on sidewalks both day and night and resort to panhandling. We enable their lifestyle by giving them the possibility of a nearby space to sleep and maybe eat and by kicking them from that space during the daytime. Residents note on NextDoor that we excuse smoking and drug use by the homeless at Main Beach, and we do not do enough to stop their aggression and their unwanted, often obscene, advances, especially towards young women.
Laguna has surplus to pay high salaries and hire favorite consultants and contractors without providing a list of names and what amounts are paid for what projects. But they don’t seem to want to address the homeless problem.
The time has arrived to stop complaining about homeless problems and deal with them in a more consistent, humane way. And not just in November because someone designated it “National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month.” Seeing people sleep on sidewalks, seeing them occupy public spaces and violate the basic rules of civility, is not acceptable. We should examine our part in enabling those behaviors and our part in finding a better solution.
Mohammad Ala, Laguna Beach