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Declare a Crisis

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Editor:

Linda Stansberry's article "Crisis Delayed" (Feb. 7) speaks to the county Board of Supervisors' postponement yet again of a declaration of a shelter crisis for Humboldt. The evidence of an overwhelming problem with our homeless population is apparent in all districts of Humboldt. The declaration of a shelter crisis would increase the availability of possible sites for emergency shelters by easing zoning restrictions.

The Humboldt chapter of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship strongly advocates for an immediate shelter crisis declaration with strong, effective language that would produce results. Also, we agree with a creation of a task force to investigate affordable housing trust funding, which is also recommended by Supervisors Bohn and Fennell. Affordable housing is a priority that has been adopted by the Board of Supervisors under the Housing First policy and addresses an issue that affects the whole state. However the immediate creation of emergency shelters to help with the homeless, many of whom are veterans or individuals dealing with mental and/or physical health issues, including addiction, without any family support requires urgent action.

The current projects for affordable housing in Eureka are commendable but do not touch the enormity of the situation within others areas of the county or even Eureka. Linda Stansberry reports that Supvervisor Bohn has emphasized the importance of private citizens, faith groups and NGO's working to address homelessness. This is reminiscent of Pres. George Bush Sr.'s comment about the "thousand points of light" which emphasized the importance of volunteerism. It is true that community involvement is necessary to deal with this issue. The Buddhist Peace Fellowship would like to encourage concerned, compassionate citizens to write their supervisors before the Feb. 27 board meeting to suggest that the county needs to be a main contributor to those thousand points of light and that a declaration of a shelter crisis would be a step forward to addressing the homelessness problem.

Lynda McDevitt, Trinidad

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