Over 30 years ago, my wife and I built a home in Humboldt. We went on to have careers in the community and have happily paid our taxes and voted in every election, knowing that we were blessed to live in a place that offered fresh ocean air and natural beauty, but also thinking that we lived in a place of incredible moral values as well. We witnessed wonderful ethics being practiced as people protected their environment and looked out for fellow citizens.
In view of this, I was surprised and dismayed to receive an article the other day, from a friend who lives elsewhere, entitled, "These Fifteen American Cities Are Destroying Homeless Camps Just Days Before Christmas" (By Tom Cahil, Global Research, Dec. 22) and there was Eureka, listed as one on those cities. (See also, "From NCJ Daily," Dec. 17.)
I have read and researched the arguments around this problem we have here concerning homelessness. I have heard various people claim that the homeless feel entitled, are dangerous predators, and are responsible for their own predicament, arguments which I find in most cases to be completely false. A statistic that has stayed with me is that there are more vets of the Vietnam War homeless on American streets right now than died in that conflict. Another fact is that over 2.5 million children, one in every 30, experience homelessness in this country every year, and Humboldt has its share of them. Vietnam vets predators? Children responsible for their homeless predicament?
I don't think so.
There are feasible, practical solutions for this. Our Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and the Eureka City Council have an opportunity to resolve this crisis — for a crisis is what it is — by declaring a shelter crisis in Humboldt County. I urge them to do the right thing.
Chris Chapin, Eureka
I have been a citizen of Eureka, California, for all my life and I'm a local Muslim who helps the homeless people with issues, support such as food, sleeping bags and covers, and sometimes references places to sleep for the night.
For a few weeks, there have been issues going on at night when Eureka Police officers are on patrol acting like cowboys and making homeless people's lives a living hell.
The big issues is that EPD officers who are on patrol at night often patrol sites where homeless people, some with families, including children are sound asleep trying to get rest for the next day. Most of these people are victims of circumstances, mostly economic and issues with drugs and alcohol abuse.
Homeless people are often forced out of their sleeping area onto the streets, and recently, due to El Niño, weather has not been favorable: heavy rains, high winds and freezing temperatures.
Recently at a Eureka City Council meeting, a proposal was presented about activating the emergency shelter; the mayor didn't seem to really care.
We need to get the faith based organizations involved.
Please, I ask you. When a homeless person or family finds a dry place to sleep, they should be allowed to stay there with no interruptions.
Charles Abdul Jabbar, Eureka