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I sit in my home grieving for the loss of a street friend who died after weeks of being sick. The rain is dumping down in sheets. I try to imagine where they go now. Even after numerous letters to County Board of Supervisors with no response or responsible action to help all of us, the homeless sit outside. No warming shelters. No toilets unlocked. No food two nights per week in the parks. No medical attention.
We are all inside doing our part to flatten the curve. Yet our county electeds leave the most vulnerable out clustered together in the streets in encampments (being together for safety, especially for women). How are our 2,000 homeless helping to flatten the curve?
They have informed me that if a homeless person gets ill, they will isolate them in a motel. Our homeless are used to going to a park and finding Doctors Without Walls (DWW) to check them out and provide help. Who in the heck are they to go to now? They have no food. So they dumpster dive. They have no toilets, so guess where they are going? They have no medical attention. No showers to stay clean. How are you going to know when to isolate them?
It is unconscionable that when the county received funds from the governor to house them in motels, they have chosen to ignore it. If the street people get ill, it will be too ill before you know it, and they will need hospitalization. Guess who will fill our few isolation beds quickly before anyone else?
You have choices. You have funds. Stop ignoring this part of our community!
Take the library’s three-story parking lot and place them in one parking space with two spaces between them. On those two floors we can fit all the downtown homeless we have. They will be dry. Be out of the wind. They can go to the upper level for sun. Bring in portable toilets per floor. Bring in wash stations and Showers of Blessing. We have had many people such as Organic Soup Kitchen offer food, and more will step up. Outreach can check how people are doing and report ailing people before it turns chronic. Repeat the same for Goleta’s street people.
Why are the County Board of Supervisors waiting? It’s criminal and frustrates all of us who are following rules of staying inside.
Immediate action is needed.