Despite significant investments from Federal, State and Local government the number of homeless people in our community continues to grow.

This is being driven by several factors including warm weather, expensive housing, easy access to drugs, lack of mental health facilities and inconsistent law enforcement.

Our community treats homeless individuals worse than we treat stray dogs.

How Core '24 Addresses Homelessness

Lowering the cost of housing by fixing planning and permitting is the first step.  When even a small home costs nearly $500,000 to build, it is impossible to lower rents enough to accommodate impoverished families.  We must bring housing costs down.

We can also lower housing costs by recognizing tiny homes, RVs, trailers and manufactured housing as a legitimate solution for low income families and establishing common sense regulations to make them legal.  It is important, however, to keep in mind that such housing must be safe, up to code, and built by licensed, trained professionals such as union members.

Improving drug, alcohol and mental health treatment is the next step.  This actually falls under law enforcement since peace officers are nearly always on the front lines of our homeless epidemic.  Most of the chronically homeless, even those with grave emotional and mental disorders, have addiction issues.  We must create infrastructure to treat these individuals.

Finally, once housing and treatment are available, law enforcement must be empowered to enforce the law.  Every offense - loitering, public urination, public nuisance, intoxication, trespassing, drug possession - every offense is an opportunity to force the chronically homeless to enter treatment.  Individuals who choose drugs, alcohol and the homeless lifestyle would be held accountable the same as anyone else in our society.

Though this may seem harsh, anyone who has successfully exited addiction will tell you that it was consequences that lead them to recovery - lost jobs, lost families, lost friendships, incarceration and confinement are all consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.  If our community continues to enable drug use, the addicts and alcoholics that live on our streets will never seek treatment and most will die.  Consequences are essential to helping homeless individuals find the path to recovery.